50

Hendrik Meurkens / Gabriel Espinosa: Celebrando

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Defining the Zoho imprint as a "World Music" label is a bit of a misnomer, but label head Joachim "Jochen" Becker does seem to have a global outlook when it comes to artist signings. Afro-Cuban music, British blues, Argentine sounds, R&B, Asian-jazz hybrids, Brazilian jazz, and vocal projects have all found a home at Zoho. Some labels like to hone in on a specific style, but Zoho seems to feel the opposite; their only guiding principle of discrimination seems to be based around quality.

While the label is still a year-and-a-half from celebrating its tenth anniversary, it has reached a major milestone with Celebrando. This album marks the hundredth release on Zoho Music, and reflects the worldly tastes of the label and its founder. A German harmonica ace, a Mexican bassist, an Israeli reedstress, an American trumpeter and a Russian pianist, along with a few other topnotch players, come together to create a Brazilian-based program that's full of life and spirit.

Harmonica maestro Hendrik Meurkens and bassist Gabriel Espinosa share top billing, but the music seems to mark this as a Meurkens date. While each man contributes four songs to the program, Meurkens' harmonica is the guiding voice while Espinosa supports more than stands out. Regardless, both men can be credited for putting together a program that's buoyant and pleasing to the ear.

Meurkens and Espinosa seem to share an interest in blending voices that rarely encounter one another. Harmonica, clarinet, wordless vocals—courtesy of the enchanting Alison Wedding—and flugelhorn move as one (or dovetail with one another) in various permutations throughout this album. While all of the music has a distinctly Brazilian identity, each track has individual, distinguishing characteristics. Pianist Misha Tsiganov's Fender Rhodes brings a different color to "La Esperanza," Anat Cohen's peppy clarinet work enlivens "Frenelosa (Choro No. 2)" and Espinosa's Spanish vocals on "La Puerta" give him an opportunity to step out of the shadows and into the spotlight.

While Cohen gets special billing because of her star power, trumpeter Jim Seeley is even more important in the grand scheme of this project. His warm flugelhorn is featured well, and he steals the show with his muted trumpet solo on the samba-leaning "She Lives In Brazil." The undercarriage of the band proves to be equally important as either Antonio Sanchez or Mauricio Zottarelli drive the band through this music.

Celebrando is worth savoring for the music, but it's also a worthy salute to Becker, who has turned Zoho into a major player in the world of jazz and beyond.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles

Warning: mysql_fetch_object(): supplied argument is not a valid MySQL result resource in /home/websites/jazznearyou.com/www/html/templates/calendar/cal_related_cached.php on line 39

More Articles

Read Whispers on the Wind CD/LP/Track Review Whispers on the Wind
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman CD/LP/Track Review Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Heptagon CD/LP/Track Review Heptagon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 23, 2017
Read ON Tour CD/LP/Track Review ON Tour
by John Kelman
Published: October 22, 2017
Read On a Distant Shore CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read "Do Not Disturb" CD/LP/Track Review Do Not Disturb
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 26, 2016
Read "Signaling" CD/LP/Track Review Signaling
by Troy Dostert
Published: May 11, 2017
Read "The Lovers card" CD/LP/Track Review The Lovers card
by James Nadal
Published: August 15, 2017
Read "Out of Place" CD/LP/Track Review Out of Place
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 6, 2017
Read "Domains" CD/LP/Track Review Domains
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 13, 2017
Read "It Will Come" CD/LP/Track Review It Will Come
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 16, 2017

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY IT!  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.