Robin Verheyen New York Quartet
Saxophonist Robin Verheyen soon earned a reputation for himself in Belgium as a jazz saxophonist, because of his eagerness to perform but also because of his style. He is generally wilder and more fiery than the average saxophonist on the soprano saxophone while taking a more considered, a more painterly approach on the tenor saxophone. Verheyen lives in New York where he formed his New York Quartet. This spring the quartet will release its first album, ‘Trinity’ on 52Creations, the label of Dré Pallemaerts and Anne Recour.
Because he felt that the music scene in Belgium was too small and because New York is still the hotbed of jazz and improvised music Verheyen finally left for the Big Apple in 2005 after a brief sojourn in Paris. He had already spent some time in New York, receiving a scholarship to study at the Manhattan School of Music, with Dave Liebman and Phil Markowitz. Prior to this he spent two years studying in Amsterdam.
He co-leads the band Narcissus, with Flin van Hemmen, Clemens van der Feen and Jozef Dumoulin, and recorded two CDs on the W.E.R.F.-label with them. In May 2009 the French Jazzmagazine declared him one of the top 12 European saxophone players, next to such other eminent musicians as Pietro Tonolo, Christoph Lauer and Trygve Seim. He received a commission from the Ghent-based De Bijloke Music Centre to compose a 45-minute chamber music work for them, which was presented to the public in November 2011 during the Jazz & Sounds Festival.
Verheyen is a smart musician, who brings a lot of conviction to his music. He leads an international quartet with pianist Bill Carrothers, bassist Nic Thys and drummer Dré Pallemaerts as well as having his own New-York-based quartet. He is a co-leader of Narcissus and often plays with Aki Rissanen.
With his New York quartet Verheyen tries to bridge the gap between the tradition of blues, bop and swing with improvisation and new sounds. The amazing trumpettist Ralph Alessi is an excellent sparring partner for Verheyen. The other members of the quartet are bassist Drew Gress and drummer Jeff Davis (Ron Miles, Tony Malaby). Verheyen never goes for effects. The tension often simmers beneath the surface of this artfully woven music.