All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

5

Hendrik Meurkens/Bill Cunliffe: Cabin In The Sky

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Hendrik Meurkens is a natural-born collaborator. That statement might smack of the obvious, as jazz musicians on the whole tend to thrive on a synergistic model, but it need be said with regard to this German-born, New York-based harmonica hero (and vibraphonist of note). Whether engaging in a pas de deux with pianist Misha Tsiganov, sharing top billing with bassist Gabriel Espinosa, fronting a swinging outfit with the legendary Jimmy Cobb stoking the flames behind him, or taking to Brazilian waters with Antonio Adolfo, Meurkens always displays an unusual level of comfort and ease. So it's no surprise to observe the breezy chemistry that came of this studio meeting with pianist Bill Cunliffe.

With a focus on classics and a mostly straightforward outlook, Meurkens and Cunliffe deliver a trouble-free flight. The swinging title track and a "Smoke On The Water"-laced take on Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Wave" make for an easy take-off and landing, respectively, and the material in between speaks to a partnership built on bonhomie.

These songs are sophisticated in different ways, yet they're all incredibly approachable when placed in the hands of this pair. Whether investigating an emotional uncertainty in Wayne Shorter's "Miyako," taking a cheery stance on Joe Zawinul's "Young And Fine," giving "Invitation" an exhilarating spin," or mining a coolly soulful vein on "Ode To Billie Joe," Meurkens and Cunliffe always find a way to give a song its due while stamping it with their individual and collective spirit(s).

While jazz fare born on the Great White Way and other chestnuts of varied origin and design make up the bulk of the program, originals have their place in the mix here, too. Meurkens' mellifluous "Afternoon," augmented with some Cunliffe-arranged strings, is a highlight; Cunliffe's bluesy "You Don't Know" broadens the color scheme, adding another shade to an already-vibrant picture; "Time To Say Goodbye" plays up the lyrical qualities so notable throughout this entire affair; and "Prague In March" marks Meurkens as a writer of extreme clarity and emotional depth.

If ostentatious offerings and flashy displays are your thing, this one isn't for you. There are plenty of solos to marvel at across this album, but each serves the song without drawing undue attention away from it. Cabin In The Sky may be a first go-round for Meurkens and Cunliffe as a team, but the music doesn't betray that fact. Their rapport is undeniable.

Track Listing: Cabin In The Sky; Afternoon; Miyako; Young And Fine; You Don't Know; Invitation; Time To Say Goodbye; Ode To Billie Joe; Prague In March; Speak Low; Wave.

Personnel: Hendrik Meurkens: harmonica; Bill Cunliffe: piano.

Title: Cabin In The Sky | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Self Produced

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Euro 12

Euro 12

Hendrik Meurkens
Samba Little Samba

CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Cabin In The Sky

Cabin In The Sky

Self Produced
2018

buy
Harmonicus Rex

Harmonicus Rex

Self Produced
2016

buy

Related Articles

Read Lab 2018, The Rhythm of the Road CD/LP/Track Review
Lab 2018, The Rhythm of the Road
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 25, 2018
Read Live CD/LP/Track Review
Live
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 25, 2018
Read 8 Songs CD/LP/Track Review
8 Songs
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 25, 2018
Read Facing Dragons CD/LP/Track Review
Facing Dragons
by Chris Mosey
Published: September 25, 2018
Read Brothers CD/LP/Track Review
Brothers
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 24, 2018
Read The Fearless Flyers CD/LP/Track Review
The Fearless Flyers
by John Bricker
Published: September 24, 2018
Read "Explosion" CD/LP/Track Review Explosion
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 9, 2018
Read "ON Tour" CD/LP/Track Review ON Tour
by John Kelman
Published: October 22, 2017
Read "Landfall" CD/LP/Track Review Landfall
by Doug Collette
Published: May 2, 2018
Read "The Acadian Orogeny" CD/LP/Track Review The Acadian Orogeny
by Geannine Reid
Published: July 19, 2018
Read "Short Notice" CD/LP/Track Review Short Notice
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 30, 2017
Read "Atody Man" CD/LP/Track Review Atody Man
by Jerome Wilson
Published: March 5, 2018