Release Date: 05/20/22
Hendrik Meurkens and the legendary Cologne, Germany-based WDR Big Band combine on nine gorgeous, soulful and virtuosic Brazilian-flavored tracks.
Maestro Hendrik Meurkens isn't just an acclaimed artist, whom we have all come to admire. He's a man brimming with incandescent ideas which manifest into musical gold. What makes Meurkens so special is the singularity of his sound. A German-born, New York-based harmonica player who performs Latin Jazz. If there is a Venn diagram of these attributes, he would be one of the few in the middle. That he has carved such a niche over a storied career should put this album under a special light. Samba Jazz Odyssey is an adventure with seven pieces composed by Meurkens, which were undoubtedly informed by his trailblazing musical journeys around the world. The maestro pairs with the august WDR Big Band, from Cologne, Germany, with arrangements which were also conducted by Michael Philip Mossman, a Grammy-nominated arranger. 'This project is very special to me,' said Meurkens. 'It is everybody's dream to record with the WDR Big Band, and I was honored to collaborate with them.' The resulting production is a vivid voyage through samba jazz in its many forms.
A Night in Jakarta isn't just a get-up samba with feel good effect. It exemplifies the theme of this project, a veritable tour of samba jazz, which begins in the South Pacific. Meurkens wrote the piece as an honorific for the Java Jazz Festival organizers based in Jakarta. He and his Samba Jazz Quartet have played at this well-regarded festival many times. Meurkens has fond memories, particularly of the late-night jam sessions at the hotel. Paul Heller (tenor saxophone) and Raphael Klemm (trombone) deliver dazzling solos to get this album going.
Meurkens first recorded Manhattan Samba on his album Poema Brasileiro in 1996. It's a tune of many layers, runs, and hits. The band plays as one, navigating the sections with aplomb. This piece is a musical dedication to the vibrant samba jazz scene in New York, as many terrific Brazilian artists live in the Big Apple.
Kabir Sehgal, producer.
|Run Time: 63 mins|
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