Robin Verheyen

A Look Beyond (Cap-Vert Illuminations)

Price: € 19.95
Format: CD
Label: Challenge Records
UPC: 0608917340723
Catnr: CR 73407
Release date: 09 October 2015
1 CD
✓ in stock
€ 19.95
Challenge Records
Catalogue number
CR 73407
Release date
09 October 2015

""My world doesn't stop at jazz" - Robin Verheyen"

Jazzism, 07-5-2016

About the album

The music on this album is inspired by my recent travels to Senegal and my years of studying the music of French composer Olivier Messiaen. This multicultural project blends the compositional language of Messiaen, traditional West African music and the new sounds of the NYC jazz and improv scene. A big part of this music was written and influenced by my stay in Cap-Vert, the most western point of Africa in Dakar, Senegal. In the West African heritage, traditional rhythms can only be played by three or more drummers. I tried to represent the cultural identity of these rhythms in a new and different context where the harmony becomes as important as the rhythm. Instead of using a group of drummers, I recreated this sound by giving these rhythmic roles to a melodic instrument. I hope that the end result will create a deeper understanding of Messiaen’s music among jazz audiences in an uplifting way through the influences of African rhythm and improv jazz.
This album was recorded in September 2014 after a US tour with my quartet. The music for this project came together after I received a New Jazz Works Grant in 2013 from Chamber Music America. The musicians featured on this recording are some of the finest in jazz today. Russ Johnson has been an important force in the NYC jazz scene for many years and, since his move to the Chicago area, has become one of the major players in jazz in the Midwest. Drew Gress is one of the most in-demand bass players in jazz and has worked with some of the greatest musicians of our time. Percussionist/composer Jeff Davis has established himself in New York as a vital contributor to the local and international creative music scenes. Jeff is widely sought out for his unique, textural approach to the drum set, as well as for his power and intensity.
Robin Verheyen
“Von der Musik 'A Look Beyond' ließ ich mich von meinen Reisen im Senegal und meinen Studien der Musik von Olivier Messiaen inspirieren. Entstanden ist dabei ein multikulturelles Project, das die kompositorische Sprache Messiaens überblendet auf traditionelle Westafrikanische Musik und die neuen Sounds der New Yorker Jazz- und Improszene. Dabei war es mir wichtig vor allem die Afrikanischen Rhythmen in einen harmonischen Kontext zu setzten, so dass Harmonie und Rhythmus gleichermaßen von Bedeutung sind und so habe ich die rhythmischen Elemente in die Hände der Melodieinstrumente, statt in die der Rhythmusinstrumente, gelegt.” Robin Verheyen


Robin Verheyen first started lessons on the saxophone at the age of 12. He won the prestigious Django d’Or prize at the age of 25. He has called a variety of cities his home (Turnhout, Amsterdam, Paris, New York). One can definitely say that Robin Verheyen has a focused approach to his career.

Born in Turnhout in 1983, Robin Verheyen first studied for three years in Belgium, then two years in the Netherlands, and one year as an honour student (“dean’s list”) at the Manhattan School of Music with Dave Liebman, Steve Slagle, Frank Vaganée, Jasper Blom, Ferdinand Povel, Dick Oatts, and John Ruocco. He ended his musical study with honours in Amsterdam.

In 2005 Verheyen moved to Paris for a year where he played in bands led by Giovanni Falzone, Remi Vignolo, Nelson Veras, and Bruno Angelini. In Paris he met the Finnish pianist Aki Rissanen with whom he’s been working since in their duo and trio with drummer Markku Ounaskari. They recorded a cd together called “Semplice” that was released in 2009 on Alba Records. In 2013 they released the trio album “Aleatoric” on Eclipse Music.

In 2006 Robin Verheyen moved to New York. There he has played and recorded with the Pascal Niggenkemper Trio, as well as the bands of Nicolas Letman-Burtinovic, Dan Loomis, Charnett Moffett, Jesse Stacken, Michael Bates, and more. In 2008 he recorded the cd “Andarta” on Origin Records with Grammy award winner Roy Hargrove and the Roy Assaf/Eddy Khaimovich Quartet.

He also co-leads the band Narcissus with Flin van Hemmen, Clemens van der Feen and Jozef Dumoulin with whom he has released two albums for the label W.E.R.F. since their early beginnings in 2004. They currently are planning a new release of material recorded during their 10-year anniversary tour in 2014.

While working as CC de Warande artist in residence in his hometown of Turnhout he formed his International quartet with top-level musicians. Playing with Verheyen are the American pianist Bill Carrothers, the Belgian drummer Dré Pallemaerts and the Belgian bassist Nicolas Thys. Their first CD Painting Space was released on the Belgian label W.E.R.F. in 2008. In 2009 there followed Verheyen’s second release, the critically acclaimed “Starbound”, on the Munich-based Pirouet label.

All About Jazz said: “It’s Verheyen’s ability to find every creative possibility within a limited framework that puts Starbound over the top, and adds Verheyen to the list of reasons why jazz in the 21st century will be just fine.”

Jazztimes said about “Starbound”: “Twenty-six-year-old Belgian saxophonist Robin Verheyen displays a masterful command of his horns on his auspicious debut as a leader.”

In May 2009 the French Jazzmagazine declared him one of the top 12 European saxophone players among big names like Pietro Tonolo, Christoph Lauer and Trygve Seim.

In 2010 he received a commission by the concert hall De Biblike in Ghent to write a 50-minute chamber music work. This work featuring Aki Rissanen, Katrien Baerts and the Kryptos Quartet was premiered as part of the Jazz&Sounds Festival in November 2011 and received wide acclaim. In August 2014 Verheyen premiered a new commission for the MA Festival in Bruges. This work was based on music by 14th-century composer Guillaume de Machaut combined with Robin’s jazz and classical influences. It features Robin Verheyen and Russ Johnson as soloists together with woodwinds from the ensemble I Solisti Del Vento and the string quartet Aton&Armide.

Verheyen has played as a sideman with Grammy Award winning artists Roy Hargrove, Maria Schneider, Branford Marsalis, NEA Jazz Master Toots Thielemans and many others like Charnett Moffett, Tom Rainey, Ravi Coltrane, Gerald Cleaver, Tyshawn Sorey, and Will Calhoun.

In 2012 he released the album “Trinity” with his NY quartet on the label 52 creations. They presented the album at the Jazz Standard in NYC and toured in Europe playing the North Sea Jazz Festival and the Gent Jazz Festival. The current line-up of this group is Russ Johnson on trumpet, Drew Gress on bass and Jeff Davis on drums. In 2013 Robin received a grant by Chamber Music America to write the new work “Beyond Illuminations” for this band. This work was premiered in September 2014 during a tour of the US. Their new album will be released on Challenge Records in 2015.

Since 2012 Robin has been working with pianist Marc Copland as a duo and in a quartet with Gary Peacock and Joey Baron. They performed together at the 2013 Jazz Middelheim Festival in Antwerp. They are currently planning the recording of a new album.

He also co-leads the band TaxiWars with Belgian singer Tom Barman. Their new album will be released in 2015 on Universal.

The French magazine Jazzman a couple years ago appropriately prophesized, “You don’t know who Robin Verheyen is? That’s going to change!”



"My world doesn't stop at jazz" - Robin Verheyen
Jazzism, 07-5-2016

Jazz around / 02-05-2016
Jazz Around, 02-5-2016

["].. Nice album for jazz-lovers who wants to bivouac honor just off the paved path."
Music Emotion, 01-12-2015

Play album

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