Hendrik Meurkens - harmonica, vibes
Ivan Lins - vocal on 'Desesperar Jamais' and 'Saindo De Mim'
Claudio Roditi - flugelhorn on 'Passarim'
Laura Dreyer - saxes, flute
Steve Sacks - alto saxophone, flute
Jay Ashby - trombone, percussion
Mark Soskin - piano
Dario Eskenazi - piano, keyboards
Jon Werking- piano, keyboards
Romero Lubambo - guitar,cavaquinho
Marty Ashby - guitar
Kip Reed - bass
Rógerio Botter Maio - bass
Portinho - drums,pandeiro
Teo Lima - drums
Vanderlei Pereira - drums
Valtinho - percussion
Recorded May 1996 in New York City.
"Meurkens' guests on this celebration of Brazilian music are vocalist Ivan Lins, heard on "Desespera Jamais" and "Saindo de Mim," and Claudio Roditi, fluegelhorn on "Passarim." Also worth noting is the presence of trombonist Jay Ashby, altoist Steve Sacks, guitarists Romero Lubambo and Marty Ashby, pianist Dario Eskenazi, and drummer Portinho. Trombonist Ashby is in fine form throughout, especially on "Angel Eyes," one of four numbers he arranged. Meurkens plays vibes on three numbers and harmonica on the remaining eight. On "Chelsea Nocturne," Meurkens' harmonica becomes a third horn, joining a front line of tenorist Laura Dreyer and trombonist Ashby. "Manhattan Samba," composed by Meurkens, with Sacks providing the horn arrangement, has winged solos from Meurkens on vibes, Mark Soskin on piano, and Dreyer on tenor. On "Passarim" Meurkens' harmonica takes on a haunting tone with Roditi's fluegelhorn echoing the feeling. The arrangements by Meurkens, Ashby, and Sacks greatly contribute to the success of this release." Marcela Breton - Jazz Times, January/February 1997
"His use of the harmonica as full fledged member of the horn section and clever arrangements that support this position give a note of validity to use of the harmonica in Jazz. These are lots of good things on this disc: Wonderful melodies artfully interpreted, the right instrumentation, talented musicians, genuine Brazilian artists providing the right seasoning... Double thumbs up."
Jonathan Berg - LA Jazz Scene, February, 1997
"Truly a musician and vagabond of the world, Meurkens takes the listener along with his all-star cast on a magical sambajazz excursion. A definite, undisputed must-have for any lover of Brazilian music or jazz!" Cash Box - August, 1996
"In this, Meurkens' fifth album for Concord, the harmonicist redefines the role of challenging instrument and, in doing so, provides an inspired masterpiece for fans of Brazilian jazz. Not since Toots Thielemans has the harmonica held such promise for Brazilian song. Meurkens thoughtfully weaves his instrument in and out of the group arrangements to create one of the best Brazilian-jazz albums in recent memory." Jazziz - March, 1997
Hendrik Meurkens, a virtuoso on both the chromatic harmonica and the vibraphone, is the most important jazz harmonica player since Toots Thielemans. German-born but now based in New York, Meurkens' recordings and performances garner worldwide acclaim because the transcendent beauty of his music has universal appeal.
A two-mallet player in the tradition of Milt Jackson and Bobby Hutcherson,
Hendrik Meurkens was en-route to being an instantly recognizable vibraphonist when he heard Toots Thielemans. Inspired by the sound of Thielemans' harmonica, he taught himself the difficult-to-master instrument.
Hendrik Meurkens' other life-changing musical experience was his introduction to samba and bossa nova. He was so moved by Brazilian music that after perfecting his unique musical voice at Berklee, as a vibraphone major, he moved to Rio in the early 80s to totally immerse himself in music and culture of Brazil.
A regular Monday night gig at the popular Rio club, Bar 21, soon demonstrated his acceptance by Brazilian musicians. Meurkens' poignant, emotionally affecting harmonica proved to be a sound that Brazilians strongly embraced, and during his Rio days, he met many musicians who later became collaborators in both Europe and New York.
Back in Germany by '83, he became a respected studio musician, recording with European Radio Orchestras and leading his own groups, as well as accompanying visiting legends like Harry 'Sweets' Edison and Buddy Tate.
Within ten years, he had established himself as the "new jazz harmonica voice," and moved to New York, thanks to an exclusive contract with the prestigious label, Concord Records. He has since recorded fifteen albums, and continues to perform as both a guest artist, and with his own groups, both in festivals and clubs globally.
Hendrik Meurkens' profound involvement in both jazz and Brazilian music resulted in a very personal and instantly recognizable version of Samba jazz.
This music, a cross-cultural amalgam guaranteed to touch the heart, features his harmonica and vibes along with piano, bass and drums, playing his stirring originals and arrangements. The 'Hendrik Meurkens Sound' has been documented on a number of CDs, most notably the classic "October Colors."
As a featured artist, he has recorded with Charlie Byrd, Jimmy Cobb, Ivan Lins, Monty Alexander, Claudio Roditi ,Manfredo Fest, Dori Caymmi and Mundell Lowe, as well as backing such leading artists as Astrid Gilberto and Olivia Newton John and touring with the Ray Brown Trio, Paquito D'Rivera, Oscar Castro Neves, Herb Ellis, Herbie Mann, Charlie Byrd, and James Moody among many others.
Also a successful composer (his compositions have been recorded by other
artists and featured in the Hollywood movie, "Dolores Claiborne,") Hendrik
Meurkens remains equally at home playing jazz or Brazilian music. "My mission is simple," he explains. "I want to create music of great beauty.