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Express Yourself by Erik van der Luijt

Lyrical, describing a musician’s style, is overused, but it certainly applies to Dutch pianist Erik van der Luijt’s in his new CD, "Express Yourself."

With great help from bassist Branko Teuwen and drummer Victor de Boo, he expresses a wide range of feelings using varied tempos and styles, sensitively rendered.

Having played together in Amsterdam for the past seven years, van der Luijt’s trio seamlessly melds, bringing to mind the subtle cohesion of legendary Bill Evans with his trio of the late ‘50s, which included Scott La Faro on bass and Paul Motian drums. As well, it is apparent that van der Luijt has picked up touches of Evans’ style, particularly in his fresh chord voicings and harmonic phrasing.

After the release of trio’s first CD two years ago which consisted of its take on standard tunes, the group decided to use originals in this recording to best display its distinctive style. The 11 creative compositions by van der Luijt are a showcase of his talent for melody and show a classical influence, also true with Evans.

Some highlights on the disc: "Corleone" begins in baroque arpeggio fashion giving way to meditative passages accented by de Boo’s tasteful drumming; "Keep on Walking" displays van der Luijt’s lightly swinging touch against Teuwen’s steady bass line; "Havana Blues" brings forth a soulful Afro-Cuban groove; "Me and My Guitar" impresses with van der Luijt’s pulsating runs of cascading notes; "Mucho Mucho" features de Boo’s up-tempo drumming; and "Ilse and Ellen" shows van der Luijt’s skill with a ballad in this hauntingly beautiful tune.

The two standouts are "Minor Changes and "Land of the Triplets." In the first, which features bassist Teuwen, starts quietly and builds to a strong climax and then descends to quiet serenity. In the hard-driving "Triplets," the seamless interplay of the three makes the listener eagerly await the group’s next output.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Erik van der Luijt
  • CD Title: Express Yourself
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2004
  • Record Label: Daybreak / Challenge Records
  • Tracks: Havana Blue, Ise & Helen,Corleone,Keep on Walking, Me and My Guitar, Mucho Mucho, Minor Changes, Land of the Triplets
  • Musicians: Erik van der Luijt (piano), Branka Teuwen (bass), Victor de Boo (drums)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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