In the 1980s and 90s he was given the opportunity to perform with many foreign soloists such as Steve Grossman, Clark Terry, Johnny Griffin, Deborah Brown, Joe Lovano, David Schnitter, Jim Snidero, Dave Pike, Teddy Edwards, Slide Hampton and others. Several radio and CD recordings bear witness to this period. Also worth mentioning are his many years’ cooperation with saxophonist Ben Sluijs in duo, as well as in quartet and quintet. This resulted in six CD recordings until now. In the meantime he is perfecting himself as a composer and band leader in his own trios and larger groups.
He often explores the relationship between improvisation and composition. A good example of this is the “Into Pieces” (Igloo) CD from 1997 by the Icarus Consort with, among others, Pierre Bernard and Erwin Vann. Later also “Rrauw” around Eric Thielemans with Barre Philips and J.Y. Evrard. Erik was part of several projects with, among others, Michael Moore, Daniel Stokart and Cécile Broché. Apart from solo concerts with variations on his own work and various commissions for improvisations on work of composers such as Monk, Mozart and Beethoven, he mainly enjoys piano trios.
He recorded three trio CDs with mainly his own work and that was released on our label: “Songs of Minutes”, “Inner City” and “Live Chroma”. In 2003 Vermeulen won the prestigious Django d’Or prize. He teaches at the conservatories of Antwerp and Ghent.