Hendrik Meurkens - harmonica
Dick Oatts - saxes, alto flute
Jay Ashby - trombone, percussion
Claudio Roditi - trumpet on "The Monster And The Flower'
Mark Soskin - piano
Harvie Swartz - bass (tracks 2,3,4,5,10,11)
Leo Traversa - bass
Portinho - drums, percussion
Carl Allen - drums (tracks 2,3,4,10,11)
Recorded July 1993 in New York City.
"Hendrik Meurkens secures his position as the second-best jazz harmonica player (behind Toots Thielemans) with this fine release. Unlike his two earlier Concord recordings, Meurkens sticks to straight-ahead jazz (rather than Brazilian music) on this set, tackling a variety of challenging material (four of the 11 pieces are his originals) with apparent ease. He comes up with fresh statements on such veteran songs as "Whisper Not," "Naima," "Body and Soul," and "Moment's Notice" and his supporting cast (which includes saxophonist Dick Oatts, trombonist Jay Ashby, and pianist Mark Soskin) is consistently strong. This CD gives one an excellent example of Hendrik Meurkens' talents." Scott Yanow
"He's into the rich texture and percussion of Brazilian-inspired originals as well as bop-tinged standards." Ken Franckling - Jazztimes, June, 1994
"Since his first recording in 1989, Hendrik Meurkens has taken the harmonica's blues stereotype, ripped it to shreds and made it a more than respectable jazz horn, quite an accomplishment." Brian Humek - Jam Magazine
"Meurkens' solos have the logic and flow of horn solos..." Jon Andrews - Down Beat, March, 1994
"Hendrik Meurkens shows throughout this fine session that he is in Toots' league. Recommended." Scott Yanow - Cadence, April, 1994
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.