Ben Sluijs Quartet
For more than eight years, alto saxophonist Ben Sluijs (°1967) led one of the most brilliant jazz quartets in Belgium, alongside pianist Erik Vermeulen, bassist Piet Verbist and drummer Eric Thielemans. In 2002, they appeared on the CD-box set ‘The Finest in Belgian Jazz’, which presented the crème de la crème of the Belgian jazz scene. Then, suddenly, it was over. After recording four CD's Sluijs disbanded the group: playing with his band mates had become too familiar and comfortable.
In April 2003 he created a new quartet with a fairly unconventional line-up. No more piano, but a pas de deux for alto and tenor saxophone following the example of Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh or Ornette Coleman and Dewey Redman. Sluijs discovered his alter ego in the tenor Jeroen Van Herzeele, who counters his introverted alto with a testosterone-laden tenor. Their compositions are equally challenging, full of teasing blows, question-and-answer games and winding counterpoints. This twosome finds a perfect basis in the subtle rhythm section provided by Marek Patrman (Czech Republic) and Manolo Cabras (Sardinia). Their debut-CD, ‘True Nature’, received a warm-hearted welcome and ‘Somewhere in Between’ (2006), a sultry live-CD, demonstrated how they had matured into an unyielding group. Since 2007, the quartet has been touring with Erik Vermeulen with their newest venture, ‘The Unplayables’, and the eminent brotherhood of Sluijs-Vermeulen is experiencing a second coming.
(c) Bart Cornand for Flanders Music Centre
- Ben Sluijs: altsax
- Jeroen Van Herzeele (BE): tenorsax
- Manolo Cabras (IT): double bass
- Marek Patrman (CZ): drums