THE NEW ORLEANS Z’HULUS have now been “on the warpath” for over 30 years. The band, formed in 1984, was the brainchild of the legendary Belgian drummer Maurice Van Eyck, because he wanted a group of musicians with similar views to his, to continue to play in the “old” New Orleans tradition. Sadly the years of “hard living” has taken its toll on Maurice and he has retired to the south of France. However, three decades on, the band is still fulfilling his wishes and we are continuing to ‘look after it’ for him. The New Orleans Z’hulus play festivals and clubs throughout Europe. All of the members have either lived, or spent, considerable time in New Orleans recording, or playing with the ‘greats’ of this music.
DAN VERCRUYSSE (Belgium) Trumpet. Dan has been with the band since 2006. He brings a calm and an authoritative lead to the band, as well as bringing a rich variety of new numbers into the band’s book. A resident of Kortrijk, he also leads his own group ‘The Superior Dance Band’. As the title suggests, he is a great admirer of Bunk Johnson.
PHILIPPE DE SMET (Belgium) Trombone. One of the founder members of the Z’hulus, in his early days he was heavily influenced by Louis Nelson. So much so, that he was invited to dep when the great man took sick during a Swiss tour with ‘Danny Barker’s Band’. He is in great demand, both on trombone and his second instrument, the tenor sax.
JOHN DEFFERARY (U.K. & Germany) Clarinet. An outstanding reedman, John has graced many of the top bands for half a century. His CV includes long stints with Papa Bue, Chris Barber and Trevor Richards. He first came to prominence with ‘Keith Smith’s Climax Band’ in the early sixties, which also included Brian Turnock. His association with the Z’hulus goes way back and he was on the first ever recording of the band.
EMILE VAN PELT (Holland) Piano. An extremely talented pianist and vocalist, Emile has worked with several bands in Europe over the years. He has become more familiar with British audiences recently, as a member of ‘Sammy Rimington’s Band’. A solid hard driving pianist in the true New Orleans tradition, he is both an accomplished rhythm man and a soloist
BRIAN TURNOCK (U.K. Belgium) String Bass. A member of the Z’hulus for over a quarter of a century, Brian has been a member of many of the top bands on the New Orleans circuit. Beginning in the 60’s with Keith Smith and for many years with Barry Martyn, Brian then settled on mainland Europe and worked with Sammy Rimington and Lillian Boutte. He has recorded with all of the top New Orleans artists ranging from George Lewis and John Handy to Don Ewell and Lil Armstrong.
EMILE MARTYN (U.K./U.S.A.) Drums. Having played with the Z’hulus on their Swiss tours, Emile is a welcome addition to the drum chair. Following in his father’s footsteps, he studied drums with the old masters whilst living in New Orleans and is one of the few exponents of the old style New Orleans beat.