The call-and-response feel of the melody to "Roscopaje" spills over into the wide-open solo section with an interesting back and forth from Verheyen and pianist Bill Carrothers who is intuitive throughout the program. With ideas that seem to be pulled out of thin air, Carrothers takes charge on the opening "On the House" and the Monkish "Long Island City," with a full-fisted rhythmic charge. Thick-toned Bassist Nicolas Thys, who takes on an insightfully playful role, introduces the lengthy "Lamenting," a suggestively dark piece featuring Verheyen on tenor. Here, drummer Dre Pallemaerts provides illumination with a multi-colored backdrop.
A well-balanced set that unfolds with an openness to spontaneity and joy, Starbound is an impressive introduction to a unique voice. Verheyen brings a fresh, ensemble-driven approach to contemporary jazz.