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World Music CD Reviews Europe

Hendrik Meurkens

By Michael Stone
Published April 27, 2007

NY Samba Jazz Quintet
Zoho Music

German vibes and harmonica master Hendrik Meurkens emerged on the New York jazz scene in the early 1990s, and has recorded with Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, Jimmy Cobb, Ivan Lins and Claudio Roditi, among others. On this live set (at Cecil’s, the noted Newark, NJ-area jazz club), Meurkens enlists Jed Levy (tenor sax, flute), Helio Alves (piano), Gustavo Amarante (bass), and Adriano Santos (drums). The repertoire includes tunes by Brazilian stalwarts João Donato (“Vamos Nessa,” “A Rã”), Djavan (“Flor De Lis”) and Antonio Carlos Jobim (“Triste”), an Ira Gershwin standard (“I Can’t Get Started”), and four Meurkens originals. As a composer, Meurkens hears the sonic kinship between jazz and Brazilian choro, as on “Mimosa” (featuring the vibes and tenor) and “Menina na Janela” (pairing harmonica and flute leads). Meurkens also salutes Paquito D’Rivera (with whom he has toured) on “Bolero Para Paquito,” revealing an affinity for that classic Latin form.