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by William Grim
Dutch singer Josee Koning is not very well known in the United States, but she is definitely in the deserving of greater recognition category. She is a specialist in Brazilian bossa nova and MPB (Musica Popular Brasileira), and she sings in Portuguese like a native Brazilian. In fact, her excellent website, www.joseekoning.com , is available in Dutch, Portuguese and English.
Dois Mundos features a wide sampling of the very best in contemporary Brazilian music, including songs composed by ...read more
by Ed Felper
Any recording titled Licensed to Thrill sets up a certain expectation. Unfortunately, the latest CD from the Boston-based vocalist rarely lives up to its promise. Byrne delivers a solid, competent set of pop and jazz standards, but her thin, reedy voice isn't particularly distinctive or compelling, much less thrilling. What sparkles are the nuanced, textured arrangements by bassist and husband Marshall Wood and the masterful performances by her sidemen. Scott Hamilton's soaring tenor sax underlines the light-hearted rhythms of Nobody ...read more
by Jack Bowers
What can one say when the composer is widely acclaimed, the orchestra world–class, and the music (in his opinion) well–written and arranged but singularly unexciting? Well, he could begin by noting that One More Time, the UMO Jazz Orchestra’s collaboration with composer / trumpeter Kenny Wheeler and vocalist Norma Winstone, is far better than its earlier album for A–Records, Electrifying Miles (AL 75153), with another guest trumpeter, Tim Hagans. This one is at least listenable — but not much more ...read more
by Jack Bowers
The Millennium Jazz Orchestra, which until last year was the Big Barchem Band, proves on its third recording (and second for A–Records) that a world–class ensemble by any other name swings as lustily and as often, thanks to bracing charts by conductor Joan Reinders, a welcome appearance on five selections by guest artist Philip Catherine, and remarkable interplay by the orchestra as a whole. Catherine, the superb Belgian guitarist who’d impressed the band at a concert in October ’99, is ...read more
by C. Andrew Hovan
At the age of forty-four, Hendrik Meurkens really has no peers on the American jazz scene, with the possible exception of one. You see, Meurkens plays harmonica and the only other gentleman to make a name for himself in jazz with that instrument would be the ubiquitous Toots Thielmans. Born in Germany to Dutch parents, Meurkens' most recent endeavors have revolved around Brazilian music where he's worked with some of the greatest, including Ivan Lins and Claudio Roditi. But New ...read more
by Jim Santella
What is it about jazz harmonica that makes you feel so good inside? Carrying this straight-ahead, New York themed program as featured melody maker, Hendrik Meurkens warms the heart with his lyrical exposition. Maybe it's the primitive nature of the instrument. Most cultures have instruments similar to Meurkens' chosen medium somewhere, back in their earliest historical chapters. It's likely that the earliest cave man blew across hollow reeds to achieve pleasurable sounds such as this. Perhaps to attract a mate. ...read more
by Jack Bowers
About the last place one might think to look for an ultra–hip, ultra–swinging and inclusively modern big band is the Netherlands, but there — word of honor — is where one may readily find exactly that, namely the awesomely talented Big Barchem Band under Joan Reinders’ unerring baton. The Barchem ensemble, which released its first CD, Some Frames of Mind, in 1992, the same year it won first prize in TROS Radio’s national big–band competition, has been playing once a ...read more