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Daan Kleijn: Passages

Don Phipps By

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On his album Passages, Netherlands guitarist Daan Kleijn and his cohorts -Tobias Nijboer on bass and Joost Van Schaik on drums -provide a solid and tasteful mix of originals and standards. The entire affair is sunny and impressionistic. Like a day at the park, the musical settings move from tree-lined paths and forest streams to walkways with fountains and lawns that stretch between.

The set opens with the Kleijn original "Bird Song." It has a fluid flying feel to it, like skirting air currents. After a brief statement of the theme, Van Schaik begins a rather happy, bluesy improv over the rhythm section. The music sways like tree branches and then Van Schaik provides some active licks across the drums before the theme is restated.

The trio covers the Antonio Carlos Jobim ballad "Estrada Branca." It features Nijboer's emotive bass playing and Kleijn's chordal accompaniment. Kleijn solos after the break and Van Schaik offers some nice brush work. The song has a dreamy feel to it: think lazy summer afternoon watching sunbeams float in rays of sunlight.

Kleijn and Nijboer provide some excellent counterpoint on the Bobby Hutcherson tune, "Isn't This My Sound Around Me." Kleijn uses a mix of chords and notes to produce the melody. Nijboer breaks into a walk as the music scoots along. Van Schaik lays down some solid drumming behind Kleijn's sharp guitar solo and the bass walk, and he breaks into a couple of snappy solos that cover the entire trap set.

There's a splendid rendition of the ballad "Moonlight in Vermont" which sparkles under Kleijn's masterful playing. Nijboer again offers some very unhurried bass lines while Van Schaik demonstrates his mastery of the brushes.

Kliejn's "Bumble Bee" has an almost tropical feel. Nijboer lays down a funky line echoed in the drums. Kleijn plays solo above. Duke Pearson's "Gaslight" starts with a Nijboer carrying the melody below Kliejn's chords. Then the two unite on the melody before breaking apart.

The trio explores hard bop on the Lee Konitz number, "Kary's Trance." Kleijn's seemingly effortless guitar work is front and center, pushing the melody along with a combination of bluesy notes that dip and glide. Van Schaik's drum solo midway through the piece has touches of Roy Haynes. In it, he explores the many colors and timbres of the trap set. To wrap things up, the group provides a tender and loving rendition of the Lorenz Hart / Richard Rodgers standard "Where or When."

Passages is a genuinely pleasant affair. The trio's memorable takes of the standards and Kleijn originals keep things fresh, with passages that are nostalgic, romantic, and adventurous. Enjoy!

Track Listing: Bird Song; Estrada Branca; Isn't This My Sound Around Me; Moonlight in Vermont; Humble Bee; Gaslight; Kary's Trance; Where or When.

Personnel: Daan Kleijn: guitar; Tobias Nijboer: bass; Joost Van Schaik: drums.

Title: Passages | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Self Produced

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