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Polder: Polder

Bruce Lindsay By

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Polder is a Dutch quintet, led by bassist and composer Guus Bakker. Bakker has been a professional musician since the mid-90s, with an extensive resumé as a sideman, so it's perhaps surprising that Polder is his debut as a bandleader and writer. His unhurried pace is rewarded by a varied and engaging collection of tunes.

Polder's line-up features the slightly unusual mix of saxophone (Nils van Haften who also plays bass clarinet), trombone (Vincent Veneman), guitar (Andreas Suntrop), bass and drums (Pim Dros).

The music ranges from punchy, groove-focussed numbers such as "Duck & Hide"—with Bakker and Dros in particularly assertive mood—to the straight-ahead swing of "November Rain" and the gentler "Dawn," centered on Van Haften's saxophone and Veneman's warm-toned trombone, and "Twenty Two." When Suntrop ramps up his guitar sound—as he does on "Look A Here" and "Afternoon"—the music takes on a fusion-meets-prog urgency. The catchy "Souldust," co-written by Bakker and Suntrop, is a fine example of the quintet in full flight, flowing melodic lines from sax and trombone over a funky rhythm.

"fOrnette" and "State Of Monk" suggest two possible influences for Bakker's music. "fOrnette" is a slow, almost melancholy, tune with Van Haften's bass clarinet at its heart: fairly brief at just over three minutes but an album highlight. Despite the absence of a piano, "State Of Monk" wears Thelonious Monk's influence proudly as its stylish swing brings the enjoyable Polder to a close.

Track Listing: Duck & Hide; Dawn; Afternoon; Souldust; Twenty Two; fOrnette; November Rains; Look A Here; Way Back; State Of Monk.

Personnel: Nils Van Haften: saxophone, bass clarinet; Vincent Veneman: trombone; Andreas Suntrop: guitar; Guus Bakker: bass; Pim Dros: drums.

Title: Polder | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Zennez Records

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