A Conversation with Hendrik Meurkens

Air Date: 1/17/2021

Note: Listen to the four part interview: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

Harmonica might not be the first instrument you think of when you think of jazz. But if you have heard and enjoyed the instrument played in a jazz setting, then it was probably one of two artists who was blowing: Toots Thielemans or Hendrik Meurkens.

Mr. Meurkens joins me on this edition of the Sunday Jazz Brunch to talk about the harmonica in jazz, among other things. "Toots is the greatest, and will always be," he says, describing the long shadow cast by the jazz great.
Starting at 10am ET and for most of Brazil/World hour, you'll hear a few tracks from his new CD Manhattan Samba, along with his very interesting background on samba jazz, the artists who play and compose the music, and the New York samba jazz scene in general. 
You'll find out why Brazilian jazz is such a good fit for harmonica, versus other types of jazz. 
Mr. Meurkens also has some interesting stories about artists like Ivan Lins, as well as his drummer on this release, the legendary Portinho, who is considered one of the founding fathers of samba jazz drumming in the United States. 
When you tune in to the third hour, get ready to relax and hear some great music along with the many illuminating insights of this harmonica master.

Best of 2020, Part 3

Can you believe how much superb jazz was released in 2020? I am thrilled by the sheer quantity, and it has taken nearly three shows to fully investigate and air out the material.
I hope you were able to catch either or both Part 1 or Part 2 of this adventure. You'll be certain to find lots of great new material among the gems uncovered in those shows. And for this show, I have even more!
Your Contemplative Morning starts with Aaron Diehl's fresh and original take on a composition by John Lewis, Milano. If you are familiar with this tune you will certainly enjoy this very different arrangement. 
Next we have the all-female ensemble Artemis, directed by pianist Renee Rosnes.  For pianists, listen to Larry Willis' final session, and later to a track all the way from Greece by Armagos. And don't forget Pete Malinverni, who teams up with violinist Juliet Kurtzman on their classical-influenced jazz duet release.
You'll enjoy vocalists Jenny Davis, and also Clairdee, whose tribute to Lena Horne includes biographical voice recordings of Horne's own words between the tracks.

Kicking off hour two are a couple of songs from Charles McPherson's Jazz Dance Suites. Featured on  After the Dance is pianist Randy Porter, and on Praise is vocalist Lorraine Castellanos. You might have heard Tom Lucci's interview with the alto saxophonist on December 14, 2020 on his show Standard Time on 90.5 WICN.
I love the big fat tenor sound of Joshua Redman up next, and then the super-tight big band sound on Devil May Care from Josie Falbo. And speaking of big bands, check out the really amazing arrangement of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue from Jim Waller later in the hour. No string orchestra here!
I am thrilled with L.A.-based pianist George Kahn's latest release Dreamcatcher, featuring superb integration with guitarist Pat Kelly. If you like a good 'bone section as much as I do, then you will really enjoy the Big Bad Bones featuring Scott Whitfield.

Pianist Josh Nelson, who appeared on so many releases last year, gets a nod as lead on his release Discoveries. Multi-instrumentalist Brian Landrus concludes the second hour with a track from his eclectic release For Now.
Groove hour begins with the ever-popular Chris Standring, who also plays his version of Herbie Hancock's Tell Me a Bedtime Story later in the hour. 

I read a quote by a famous jazz artist and teacher, who said that there are no prodigies in jazz. After you hear Justin Lee Schultz you will disagree - the thirteen-year old multi-instrumentalist is very convincing. 
Look at the list of artists during groove hour; some you will know and some you will not know. But I guarantee that all of them will have you grooving for the entire hour.
Don't forget that you can listen to the show from our archives in case you miss any of it. Click the back arrow at the top of this note and you'll see links at the top to listen to 90.5 WICN live or a show from the archives.

Thanks for listening!


HOUR ONE: Contemplative Morning

Aaron Diehl-The Vagabond-10 Milano-2020
Artemis-Artemis-05 If Its Magic-2020
Larry Willis-I Fall in Love Too Easily (The Final Session at Rudy Van Gelder's)-03 Anna-2020
Uptown Jazz Tentet-What's Next-08 Infant Eyes-2020
Brandi Disterheft\Surfboard\14 Reveries 2020
Bob Thompson Band\Look Beyond the Rain\Olivia's Wish 2020
Jenny Davis-Rearranged-01 Aceptar-2019
Clairdee\A Love Letter To Lena/06 Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child 2020
John Vanore\Primary Colors\06 Return 2020
John Bailey\Can You Imagine\07_Valsa Rancho (Feat. Janet Axelrod) 2020
Pete Malinverni\Candlelight Love In the Time of Cholera-12 Flashes 2020
Armagos\The Lonely Prince\The Lake 2020

HOUR TWO: New and Newer, Plus

Charles McPherson\Jazz Dance Suites\06 After the Dance 2020
Charles McPherson\Jazz Dance Suites\Praise 2020
Joshua Redman, Brad Mehldau, Christian McBride & Brian Blade-RoundAgain-04 Right Back Round Again-2020
Josie Falbo\You Must Believe In Spring\11 Devil May Care 2020
George Kahn Quartet-DreamCatcher-06 DREAMCATCHER-2020
Big Bad Bones Feat. Scott Whitfield-Emergency Vehicle Blues-03 Eulogy-2020
Mark Masters\Night Talk\01 You're Free 2020
Zen Zadravec\Human Revolution\Human Revolution\02 Mentor Disciple 2020
Frank Kohl\Solitude - City Lights 2020
Luba Mason\Triangle\Say It 2020
Jim Waller\Bucket List\Rhapsody in Blue 2020
Josh Nelson\Discoveries\Memorial 2020
Brian Landrus\For Now\The Second 2020

HOUR THREE: Brazil/World

Hendrik Meurkens discusses harmonica in jazz
Hendrik Meurkens-Manhattan Samba-03 One for Manfredo-2020
Hendrik Meurkens discusses Brazilian/New York samba
Hendrik Meurkens-Manhattan Samba-02 Manhattan Samba-2020
Hendrik Meurkens discusses personnel, tunes, Ivan Lins on Manhattan Samba
Hendrik Meurkens-Manhattan Samba-04 Dona Palmeira by I. Lins, Vitor Martins-2020
Hendrik Meurkens discusses creative process
Hendrik Meurkens-Manhattan Samba-06 Bonita-2020
Hendrik Meurkens-Sambahia-09 The Shadow Of Your Smile 1990 (vibraphone)
Selections from Helio Alves-It's Clear-2009 Played throughout the interview
Nina Ernst\A Diva's Mind\Amor 2020
Luba Mason\Triangle\07 Inolvidable 2020
Keith Oxman\Two Cigarettes\Bossa for Baby 2020
Graciliano Zambonin\Angico\For Flesh and Bone 2020

HOUR FOUR: Groove, Baby

Chris Standring\Real Life\08-another-train-M 2020
Randy Brecker and Eric Marienthal-Double Dealin'-01 Double Dealin'-2020
Justin Lee Schultz-Gruv Kid-Just In, featuring Gerald Albright and Pieces of A Dream 2020
Gregory Porter-All Rise-10 Everything you Touch-2020
Lee Ritenour-dreamcatcher-03 the lighthouse-2020
John Bailey\Can You Imagine\06_Elite State Of Mind 2020
Chris Davis Big Dog\FOCUS\One Day At A Time (feat. Rick Braun) 2020
Brian Simpson\Unified\Unified 2020
Chris Standring\Real Life\09-tell-me-a-bedtime-story-M 2020
Euge Groove\Sing My Song\The Journey Ahead 2020
Al Di Meola-Across the Universe-03 Dear Prudence-2020
Vincent Ingala-Echoes Of The Heart-06 Somewhere In Time-2020


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