Everland Jazz have picked a real gem for a reissue here! Originally released in 1980, “A Safe Return” is the second album by the Surinam jazz flutist Ronald Snijders. It is a strong alloy of soul, funk, jazz and smooth disco sounds! Mersmerizing musical craftsmanship!
“Lenox” the opening track, has a playful haze escaping from every groove,with a solid hypnotical rhythmical base and haunting flute melodies that have the character of the lead vocals. Despite the slower pace, the jazzy approach of all instrumental parts brings in enough edge to capture the listener’s attention. The few dreamy vocal lines add the slick pop element that takes this song to a different level and keeps it accessible.
“Surinam Lady”, the next tune, on the other hand has a lightweight feeling with a beautiful lead melody from the flute and easy slow dance rhythms with a latin touch. All instrumental lines are tightly intervowen in arrangements that make this a perfect tune. Easy to listen, easy to enjoy, but still a complex soundscape with captivating changes in the melodies and instrumental dialogues that tie up your senses to the composition.
“Kaseko attack” the third tune really does justice to it’s title.The rhythms are powerful, the pace is faster. Bass and percussions create a whirlwind of groove due to another quite complex web of different instruments like maracas, drums, tambourines and whatever can be used to make rhythmical noises. There is even a guitar straddling into the footing of grooves and the electric piano joins the guitar. For most of it’s running time this song is about groove and nothing else. The melodies from the flutes are sparsely used here adding a completely different character, rather dreamy and floating. Both worlds flow and blend beautifully.
“Sisa” follows and shows an affinity for spiritual free jazz. In it’s opening section flutes, acoustic guitars and other instruments tumble into the scene. The song then opens into a funky base forming the fertile soil on which the fluttering flute melodies can grow to a colorful size. The middle section is a gentle passage with an utterly beautiful flute harmony that turns into a playful and quite progressive sounding part before it fades away. “Tukayana” is an impressive journey to unknown landscapes with even a mystical turn from time to time. With “Soweto friend” you enter a lounge or bar after returning to your place of accomodation from the trip. You sit in the roof garden, take a zip from your long drink and look out to the ocean during the twilight time. This song starts with such a relaxed and easy atmosphere but soon twists the lightweight latin grooves into a jazzy rhythm figure that shows a fractured structure being kept in one piece by the enthralling flute melodies and some moony synthesizer carpets.
With zippy “Djamba” with the flute going wild on a base of samba grooves from drums and bass guitar, plus a little support by the electric piano. This tune stays instrumental during it’s running time but that’s certainly fine. A dreamy finale comes with the title track of the album. Flute and electric piano float around another, interact like two loving souls in a gentle dialogue. A beautiful way to end such an exciting yet still accessible album. You can either turn on the stereo and turn off your mind swaying to the music, or you may as well listen closely to the many little details that make this record so intense.
The playing and the sound are extraordinary! The reissue comes with a slightly improved sound by Ronald Snijders himself with the whole package retaining the spirit of the original release. For all fans of jazzy fusion and funk sounds that peep at disco music from time to time, this 1980 classic is a must have!