Last year the Alex Koo Trio won the first prize at the Prinses Christina Jazz Concours. It earned pianist Alex Koo Derudder, bassist Lennart Heyndels and drummer Francesco De Rubeis their very first performance at North Sea Jazz. Their sound has an echo of the fact they were once taught by master pianists Brad Mehldau and Kenny Werner. Alex Koo Derudder is from Waregem (Belgium) and has studied at both the Amsterdam and The Hague conservatories. In the latter city he met the other members of his trio. Together they developed their own sound. They also have a motto: "All that lives, needs to breathe. And if there's something that lives, it must be music." Improvisation is the key focus of the trio.