An indispensable source
The figure of Robert Pernet (1940-2001) has become synonymous with Belgian jazz. His archives are a unique reference and indispensable source of information for anyone interested in the history and development of jazz in Belgium and its impact on contemporary society. The King Baudouin Foundation purchased this impressive collection in 2002 and entrusted it to the Musée des Instruments de Musique in Brussels.
Belgium’s history of jazz
Musician, music critic and historian, Robert Pernet devoted his whole life to his passion. As a renowned drummer, he accompanied musicians including Philippe Catherine, Toots Thielemans and Stéphane Grappelli. From 1957, he collected literally everything that had anything to do with jazz in Belgium. His collection includes over 7,000 records, hundreds of books and magazines, musical scores, programmes and photographs. It contains numerous remarkable individual pieces, but it is the collection itself, in its entirety that is exceptional, tracing as it does, alone, the entire history of jazz in Belgium. Without the collector’s relentless efforts, a great part of Belgium’s history of jazz would have fallen into oblivion. Among the most remarkable pieces, it is worth mentioning:
- the first jazz record pressed by the Victor label in the USA, in 1917;
- several « picture records », with illustrations on both sides of the record;
- countless documents that cannot be found anywhere today, notably the complete set of the magazine L’Actualité musicale et artistique and of issues of Music, magazine international du jazz (1924-1940).