Photo of Nico ©Lien Nullens, photo of Fil ©Olivier Lestoquoit, photo of Lúcia ©Christina Nickel, photo of Karen ©Greetje Van Buggenhout, photo of Pierre-Antoine ©Michel Sadowski, photo of Bruno ©Roger Van Tilt, photo collage by Karen van Schaik

Karen van Schaik – baritone, alto and sopranino saxophone, compositions, toys
Pierre-Antoine Savoyat – trumpet, flugelhorn, toys
Bruno Grollet – tenor saxophone, toys
Lúcia Pires – flute, toys
Nico Chkifi – drums, toys
Fil Caporali – double bass, WHOA!

Newest Compositions for HU!

Recorded at MetX on April 26th 2023, mixed by Delphine Dupont


HU! is my personal musical project. I got the “carte blanche 2021” with production house MetX to start up this project.
HU! is a jazz project that challenges todays’ gender stereotypes and the fact that there are still so few female jazz instrumentalists (about 5% of jazz instrumentalists are female). HU! plays with the traditional roles of musical instruments, transforms relatable situations from daily life into music and brings to the table fragile subjects with musical pieces like “Jeans with Tiny Pockets and Toothpaste for Men”, “Circlusion”, “High Pitched Voices Often Get Interrupted” and “Ballad For The Frozen Eggs.”

By using the power of music and humour, HU! is a friendly invitation to question our unconscious gender biases!

Let’s all be HU!



I draw inspiration from my own experiences as a female jazz musician and parallel to writing music for HU! I am doing research about female jazz musicians in history (see my essay “Women Instrumentalists in Jazz” ) and gender stereotypes in general. I interviewed 28 people of different ages, backgrounds, nationalities and gender identities and read many books and articles about gender, psychology, gender in music, sexism and women in jazz. This resulted in my presentation about “12 mechanisms that still form obstacles for women to pursue a career in music.

My goal with this presentation is to create more awareness and understanding, to help musicians who suffer from these mechanisms to recognise them and others to be able to speak up when these mechanisms happen. The presentation leads to a very inclusive open discussion about possible solutions. With reaching especially musicians, programmers, music educators and parents of future musicians, I hope to be part of the change that I would love to see on jazz stages. It has been scientifically proven that mixed teams function the best and that people feel happier, so we all have something to win when the jazz scene and music becomes more inclusive!

On the HU! Research tab you can find out more about this.

Musical concept & style

I translated these mechanisms I found with my research into musical ideas and musical concepts. The titles of the songs reveal the content of the music. Who would like to know more can ask and maybe recognise things in the music. Who isn’t interested in the subject, can ignore the titles and just enjoy the music.
HU! is a sextet with four horns (flute, trumpet, and two saxophones), drums and double bass. The diverse voices of the horns, that resemble the human voice, give me a lot of possibilities to express emotions, humoristic situations and to “tell stories”. The double bass adds a lot of colours, especially with bowed passages, harmonics and driving bass lines. The drums adds a pallet that goes from gentle colouring to an aggressive energy and rhythmic complexity.

Style wise I draw a lot of inspiration from composers like Charles Mingus, John Zorn, Carla Bley, Matana Roberts, Henry Threadgill, Ennio Morricone and the Art Ensemble of Chicago.

Current situation

In February 2023 I got selected for the Academie de Composition Jazz #2 in Paris, led by Frédéric Maurin and Stéphane Payen. Here I wrote the composition “Friendly Anger” for the Youth Orchestra of the Orchestre National de Jazz (ONJ), which I later adapted for HU!

I am now working towards recording an EP with HU! that will include the songs “Friendly Anger”, “Jeans With Tiny Pockets and Toothpaste for Men” (which I will also arrange for Big Band), “Circlusion”, “Ballad for the Frozen Eggs” and may be more


The very first Try Out/ Work-in-progress of HU! took place on October 2nd 2021. Here I created a theatrical show. 
Nowadays I focus more on a concert version for jazz venues and festivals. HU! played in café Roskam in Brussels and Jazz Station so far, more dates are coming up! (See shows for the upcoming concerts). 
HU! has a repertoire of two sets of 45 minutes and I will keep on writing and developing the concept. 


The following teasers date from an earlier phase in the creation of HU!, when I worked towards a more theatrical show. After that the team has changed a bit, I expanded it to a sextet and I have shofted my focus to a concert version for jazz venues and festivals. But the video’s represent well the origin and spirit of the project.

Teaser 2: The Invisible Forces That Keep Me From Doing What I Really Want

Video by Karen van Schaik, tenor saxophone – Tom Bourgeois, flute Lúcia Pires, double bass – Fil Caporali, drums – Théo Lanau, saxophones and compositions – Karen van Schaik, recording and mixing by Delphine Dupont, 

Teaser 1: The Work-In-Progress showing of the theatrical version of HU!

Video by Karen van Schaik, camera by Christina Nickel, recording and mixing by Delphine Dupont. Tenor saxophone – Tom Bourgeois, flute – Lúcia Pires, double bass – Fil Caporali, drums – Théo Lanau, saxophones & compositions – Karen van Schaik,