On this recent release, ”Body and Soul” is performed as a duo. Mundell Lowe’s fluid guitar and Hendrik Meurkens’ sensitive harmonica bring this stirring standard into focus, reminding us that classic songs deserve our utmost respect. Most of the album places the quintet in a mainstream format that represents the last 50 years of jazz as viewed from afar. Long a champion of straight-ahead bebop, Hendrik Meurkens drives straight ahead with vibraphone for six tracks and harmonica for three. Lowe’s “A Lad Named Charlie” offers the listener a solid taste of foot-tappin’, head bobbin’, straight-ahead jazz. With a light Latin rhythm behind the two leaders, guitar and vibraphone improvise over chord changes while infusing fresh ideas.
“Opus 1,” along with vibraphone and piano trio, serves as a reminder of the veteran guitarist’s storied career that stretches from Abbie Brunies, Jan Savitt, Ray McKinley, Benny Goodman, Fats Navarro, and Red Norvo to the Sauter/Finegan Orchestra. Lowe performs with clear articulation and a swing that belies his experience. He and Meurkens, while coming from different generations, appear to be “reading from the same sheet of music.” It’s just one more reminder that straight-ahead jazz remains timeless for all generations.
Personnel: Mundell Lowe- guitar; Hendrik Meurkens- vibraphone, harmonica; Larry Porter- piano; Pat O