© Cees van de Ven

Saxophonist Ben Sluijs is one of the important figures of jazz in Belgium. We heard him in Octurn, Act Big Band and as a leader alongside Erik Vermeulen, Jereon Van Herzeele, Christian Mendoza and Manolo Cabras, among others. With his new quartet, he has brought together two rising musicians from the Belgian scene: Bram de Looze and Lennart Heyndels, as well as his old accomplice Dré Pallemaerts. Their first album, “Particles”, was awarded the 2019 Klara Prize.

Entering the world of Ben Sluijs is fascinating. It’s like entering a house that you think you know but that hasn’t revealed all of its secrets. The saxophonist’s music is both reassuring and full of mysteries. Ben Sluijs installs atmospheres, lets hover a few riddles, opens up some leads and makes references to former owners (Ornette Coleman, Yusef Lateef, for example). Then, he lets his companions decorate it, put other colors in it and bring another light. The pianist and the double bassist seem to ask questions, invent or fabricate hypotheses. The drummer makes the walls resonate. He gives rhythms to the echoes, accelerates them then releases them. On flute or alto sax, Ben Sluijs puts into perspective, opens other doors and other rooms that open onto other freedoms and other stories. The visit is full of lyricism, thrills, emotions and sometimes even meditations. Do not hesitate to enter it.