5

Hendrik Meurkens: Harmonicus Rex

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
While the swing side of harmonica master Hendrik Meurkens' personality has basically been dormant for the past fifteen years, it hasn't disappeared. After highlighting his Brazilian jazz bona fides on record after record, Meurkens now returns to straight-ahead jazz on this instantly pleasing date.

Harmonicus Rex, despite it's humorously monstrous title, isn't a roaring beast. There are no high speed scenarios to speak of and no bash-and-crash displays to witness. This record's strength is in its ability to get the point across without all of that needless showboating. It's essentially a model for how feel and taste can trump tempo and dynamic excess in terms of establishing a swinging environment. And with a cast that includes drumming legend Jimmy Cobb and under-the-radar heavies like pianist Dado Moroni and bassist Marco Panascia, it's easy to see why this album projects that train of thought.

In observing Meurkens here, it becomes increasingly clear that he's a master conversationalist with some incredible ears and reflexes. That's something that's often overlooked in discussions of his work, but it's central to the success of his art. Whether trading solos with trumpeter Joe Magnarelli on "Mundell's Mood," responding to Moroni with brief and subtle gestures during "In Your Own Sweet Way," blending and balancing his sound against that of Anders Bostrom's alto flute, or playing off of the rhythm section when in the spotlight, Meurkens' foremost concern is how he relates to the other musicians and the music at hand.

Meurkens clearly relies on a recipe that calls for stirring all of the essential elements of a straightforward date together and cooking everything on low to medium settings. It's a formula for success. By exploring the mellow environs of ballads like "Afternoon" and "Darn That Dream," inviting a little heat and embracing the swing uplift on "SKJ" and "Up Jumped Spring," finding the sweet spots between those locales, and even taking a quick dip into bossa territory on "A Summer In San Francisco," Meurkens manages to create a complete picture that offers rich viewpoints to admire from wherever you happen to be standing.

Track Listing: Mundell's Mood; Slidin'; In Your Own Sweet Way; Afternoon; SKJ; Falling In Love With Love; A Summer In San Francisco; Up Jumped Spring; Mean Dog Blues; Darn That Dream; What's New.

Personnel: Hendrik Meurkens: harmonica; Dado Moroni; piano; Marco Panascia: bass; Jimmy Cobb: drums; Joe Magnarelli: trumpet, flugelhorn (1, 4, 5, 8); Anders Bostrom: alto flute (2, 5, 7, 9).

Title: Harmonicus Rex | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Self Produced

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Euro 12

Euro 12

Hendrik Meurkens
Samba Little Samba

Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Interviews
Album Reviews
Profiles
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 Migrations Album Reviews
Migrations
By Dan McClenaghan
June 25, 2019
Read Samba Azul Album Reviews
Samba Azul
By Mackenzie Horne
June 25, 2019
Read Blue Waltz - Live at Gustavs Album Reviews
Blue Waltz - Live at Gustavs
By Jakob Baekgaard
June 25, 2019
Read Deep In The Mountains Album Reviews
Deep In The Mountains
By Chris Mosey
June 25, 2019
Read Phoenix Rising Album Reviews
Phoenix Rising
By Jack Bowers
June 24, 2019
Read Last Works Album Reviews
Last Works
By Doug Hall
June 24, 2019
Read The Change Album Reviews
The Change
By Roger Farbey
June 24, 2019