Erik Verwey: People Flow

Dan McClenaghan By

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Erik Verwey: People Flow
Dutch pianist Erik Verwey lives in a houseboat on the river Amstel, in Amsterdam. His view takes in the shimmering water and the geometry of the right angled architectures jutting from the greenery of the shoreline. It is a view that certainly influences his music. But not perhaps as much as do the encounters with people who flow, river-like, through his life. Encounters that Verwey has translated into People Flow, his debut album.

Verwey's sounds, on eight piano trio numbers and three quartet tunes, are cinematic—not surprising for an artist who has worked extensively in theatre and cabaret productions. It is a brimming with life, joyful and salubrious. His melody on the opener, "Casa de los Viecos," (referring to the house of Columbian composer Marin Viecos) is like a flitting of hummingbirds among the flowers in the garden outside of the artist's house, while "Caesar," is for a big-hearted former disco owner and repentant womanizer who now spends his days working to improve the lives of Columbian refugees. The song has a feeling of positivity and determination.

"Maatje" is for Verway's lover, for the sound of her arrival home, inspired in part by bassist Scott LaFaro's "Gloria's Step." It is a buoyant sound, lighthearted and smiling.

"Isfahan," the set's only non-original, comes from the Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn songbook, from the album The Far East Suite (Bluebird/RCA, 1967). Verwey opens on a lush note. Flugelhornist Teus Nobel, with a rich, gorgeous tone on his horn, sits in with the trio, that features the understated interactions, embellishments and augmentations from bassist Hendrik Muller and drummer Daniel van Dalen, and some of the leader's loveliest and most expressive keyboard work of the set.

"An Encounter" has a wistful vibe, a looking back, perhaps, at times when face-to-face encounters were more common and personal, holding more possibilities. "The Fall" is resigned to the coming of darkness, of longer nights, but is still unwavering in its optimism; and "Nyx" delves into the night with a time- stands-still rumination of its shadowy beauty. "Full Force," featuring Bart Wirtz on saxophone, is a get-up-and-shake-a-leg show-stopper, rocking the houseboat, no doubt, in the pre-recording rehearsals, Maartje and friends dancing overhead on the roof.

Verwey closes the album with "Song for You (In F)," for his (or your) father, and also for his (or your) future son. Tender and warm, with Hendrik Muller's bass lines serving as the human heartbeat, past, present and future.

Track Listing

Casa de Los Viecos; César; What Do You See; Maartje's Step; Isfahan; An Encounter; The Fall; Nyx; Little Farao; Full Force; Song For You (in F).


Erik Verwey: piano; Daniel van Dalen: drums; Hendrik Müller: bass, acoustic; Bart Wirtz: saxophone, alto; Teus Nobel: flugelhorn.

Additional Instrumentation

Erik Verwey: piano; Daniel van Dalen: drums; Hendrik Müller: bass; Bart Wirtz: alto saxophone (9, 10); Teus Nobel: flugelhorn (5).

Album information

Title: People Flow | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Self Produced

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