Hendrik Meurkens: Poema Brasileiro

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