Source: NRC-Handelsblad (NL) 30/11/2002 (original version in Dutch)
Written by:  Edo Dijksterhuis
Title: Sluijs blaast glanzende volzinnen uit zijn sax
About: Concert Ben Sluijs Quartet, 28/11/2002  BIMhuis-Amsterdam

Among saxophone players you have the cool orators, the ones squealing while short of breath and the introvert grumblers.

Although Ben Sluijs masters the technique to play all these voices, this Belgian altsaxophonist remains in the first place a cautious speaker of phrases. Every note from his horn is a carefully polished glimmer, part of a tasty chain, maintaining the ability to surprise in solopart sideways and curves full of fantasy. He truly belongs in the list of Belgian topacts who have visited "BIMhuis" this year, under the label “”. The basis of Sluijs’s repertoire is postbop, an idiom in which he operates with unknown lyric. But he really came to superb moments in the more free composed "Mouth Peace" which comes from his more recent work. Liberated from the necessity to swing, values truly Sluijs’s hoarse,  vibratoless tone. The intens melancholic duet "Minor Problems" with pianist Erik Vermeulen was frightningly beautiful within its  restrained drama.

Vermeulen established himself as a praiseworthy soloist with a preference for unconventional chords and a sublime sensitivity for silence. The rhythmsection, bassist Piet Verbist and drummer Eric Thielemans, shows a rich temperament that corresponds harmonicaly with the the nuanced playing of the bandleader.

This is not a band that gets his credit through its sofistication, but the superlative is alwayse sought in contents. This, one could even notice in the drumsolos that consisted of a calm elaboration of a simple pattern on sequently three drums or a roll that lasted several minutes where the strings of the drum started a hypnotizing humming.

It must be the unemphatic refinement that must have caused Ben Sluijs to be an undicovered master. Trully jazz for connoisseurs.