Vigor, youth, and technique fall into alignment with young Belgian saxophonist Robin Verheyen’s international quintet, featuring laudable American pianist Bill Carrothers. The leader doesn’t reinvent the proverbial wheel here, but sculpts a winning formula, steeped in loose-groove and airy bop segments with highly-emotive balladry. Performing on soprano and tenor saxophones, Verheyen sports a fluid sound, augmented with swift breakouts, off-kilter phrasings and memorably melodic choruses.
The saxophonist alternates the program with ballads and up-tempo bop jaunts, where depth and space are used as vantage points. Verheyen sports a soft touch via his tenor sax work on the ethereal and inward looking piece "Lamenting," where he parallels the song title with lucid imagery atop the rhythm section’s nimble support. Here and elsewhere, the band executes quietly climactic forays, yet notches it up during the linear and compellingly evasive "Roscopaje," which is firmed up by odd-metered diversions and suspense.
Carrothers is a strong foil for Verheyen, as he accents, prods and contrasts within various pulses. Fittingly, they consummate the album with a drifting duet take on the standard, "I Wish I Knew." No doubt, Verheyen conveys musical maturity beyond his years. He’s a dynamic artist who is equally adept at fusing strength with radiant dynamics. A resident of New York, the artist has snagged European prizes for solo performances and composition. Thus, Verheyen reinforces his spiraling stature with this alluring endeavor.