Clean, modern, smooth jazz features in this, the second album from Diederik de Jonge.
The album opens with the ultra smooth “Sweet Things”. Built on the base of a soft Latin rhythm, the alternating acoustic and electric piano motifs and melodies create an almost dreamy atmosphere.
The title track “Simple Pleasures” continues the smooth tone but with a more defined beat. The grittier electric piano and organ solos push this track more in the blues direction.
“Also Snuck Zarathustra” is a more playful piece. Like the sneak scene in a movie, the mood is created by the interplay of the bass lines and the running electric piano melodies.
“Stolen Moments” blends melody and unusual chord progressions to create an almost pop style ballad. The acoustic guitar softens the mood while the interplay between the bass and piano lines gives it an unusual melodic twist.
Another quirky number, “Errol’s Shuffle”, set in shifting time signatures, bops along to its own beat. The melody lines are taken up by the unusual combination of vibraphone and blues harp creating an interesting lounge style track.
Inspired by the swaying coconut palms overlooked from the balcony outside the artist’s home, “Breezin” brings together a laid-back beat with some strong guitar work reminiscent of early Santana.
Mozart meets Brubeck and Garson in the track “Seven”. Set against a 7/8 bebop beat and bass line, the overlapping Oboe and Clarinet melodies contrast against a wonderfully wild Piano solo making this a track to remember.
The underlying trip-hop beat in “I Recall” contrasts with the atmospheric guitar and piano motifs giving this track a hip melancholy feel.
Like the world the title describes, “After The Rains” opens gradually into a melodic laid-back style composition reminiscent of the reawakening after a storm.
With “Sayan” the album finishes off with a slightly retro feel; a bouncy clavichord motive, smooth electric piano and strong underlying beat topped off with a Chuck Mangione like flugelhorn melody.
The combination of strong bass lines and a subtle use of rhythm tie the whole album together creating a cool, sophisticated listening experience. Whether enjoyed in the passive luxury of your favourite armchair or as background music to a cocktail party, this album sits comfortably either way.