Saturday, November 24, 2012


© -Steven Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.

Music by Anton Goudsmit, Efraim Trujillo, Jeroen Vierdag and Martijn Vink

A few years ago a friend in Holland sent me a radio broadcast of bassist Pablo Nehar’s tentet that was recorded in performance at the 1996 Jazzmarathon annual festival which took place in October 13th in Groningen, The Netherlands.

It was my first introduction to a style of Jazz that some refer to a “Paramaribop,” which derives its name from blending “Paramaribo,” the capital of Suriname, with “Bebop.”

By way of background, Suriname is located in the northeast corner of South America and was for many years ruled by the Dutch as Dutch Guiana.

Paramaribo’s culture became a blend of native Indians, Dutch traders and colonists, merchants and traders from other European countries, and West African slaves. Musically, the city became a melting pot of styles similar to that which had occurred in New Orleans at the turn of the 20th century.

New Orleans’ culture was similarly a blend that was largely created by the early, colonial French and Spanish Catholics, Creoles from the West Indies and Spanish America, European white, Anglo-Saxon Protestants and West African slaves.

Jazz would emerge from the interactions of these cultures in early 20th century New Orleans.

Juan Pablo Nahar was born in Paramaribo, Suriname in 1952 and started the practice of music at an early age.

Eventually moving to Holland, he studied both privately and at conservatories, and also spent some time in New York studying Jazz with Frank Foster the legendary tenor saxophonist and composer-arranger with the Count Basie Orchestra.

Upon his return to The Netherlands, Pablo organized workshops at Bijlmer Park Theater in Amsterdam that resulted in concerts of the fusion music then being experimented with by musicians of Surinamese and Antillean origin who lived in that area of the city.

In 1981, along with drummer Eddie Veldman, Pablo co-founder the now legendary Surinam Music Ensemble which pioneered the development of "Paramaribop,” a unique combination of Afro-Surinam Kaseko/Kawina rhythms and the abstract and more complex harmonies of Bebop. 

A number of young, Dutch Jazz musicians worked in Pablo Nahar’s groups and subsequently went on to become great supporters of Paramaribop.

Among them are guitarist Anton Goudsmit, tenor saxophonist Efraim Trujillo, bassist Jeroen Vierdag and drummer, Martijn Vink.

While all of these players have made a huge footprint on the Dutch Jazz scene in other contexts – the New Cool Collective, the Metropole Orchestra and Big Band, the Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw, the Rotterdam Jazz Orchestra, Nueva Manteca, small groups headed by reed players Tinke Postma and Benjamin Herman - they formed a group in 2005 which has since become known as The Ploctones, which plays a style of music that has a deep allegiance to Paramaribop.

Nominally led by guitarist Goudsmit who was  awarded the VPRO-Boy Edgar Prize for 2010 as the best Jazz musician in Holland, all four musicians are very skilled players with technique and ideas to burn.

In his Volksrant review of their first CD Live Op Het Dak  [VPRO Eigenwijs–EW 0578],Koen Schouten described the group this way [please forgive the Dutch-English tone as an online translator was used]:

“A group with a rare solidity, determination and flexibility. A genuine four-headed monster.

Whether it concerns a rhythmic tour de force, a fun idea or a tearjerker, the quartet always sounds solid and the group members never cease to surprise each other. The changes and shifting times are whizzing past our ears.

With his ardent and passionate guitar playing the versatile and innovating Anton Goudsmit developed into a musical chameleon without losing his recognizable and characteristic style. His miscellaneous compositions are the base of poetic improvisations and flashy power performances.

A critic of the British ‘Guardian’ described Goudsmit as: ‘the kind of musician that makes you wonder where the fire escape is’.

He graduated cum laude at the Amsterdam Music Conservatory in 1995 and today he can be reckoned as one of the most influential guitarists of the

Jeroen Vierdag is a strong and creative bass player who lifts the band up to a higher level with his driving groove and great virtuosity, competing with his 6-string colleague. He’s been around in the field of pop, jazz, Latin and Brazilian music.

Martijn Vink is an extremely passionate drummer with a peerless technique. One moment he raises the roof and the next he colors and refines with the subtlety of a musical box. He is the regular drummer of the internationally renowned Metropole Orchestra and collaborated with many jazz giants like Pat Metheny, Herbie Hancock and John Scofield.

Tenor saxophonist Efraim Trujillo stands out in hectic compositions as well as in a more ambient repertoire due to his open and dynamic playing. Because of his abundance of experience and ability to do anything with his instrument he renews and upgrades the music he plays and makes a concert of this group a special experience for the audience and the band members, time and again. Trujillo played with Courtney Pine, Benny Bailey, Steve Williamson and Bootsy Collins among many others.”

Since 2010, the quartet has adopted a new name – The Ploctones – and you can learn more about them on their website –

See what you think of Paramaribop as Anton, Efraim, Jeroen and Martijn perform their version of it on a tune entitled Boom-Petit which serves as the soundtrack to the following video.

One thing is certain, Paramaribop is sure to move your ears in a different direction.