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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 York Nights is something else all together. Gather a fine rhythm section including drummer Jimmy Cobb, feature tenor phenom Eric Alexander on a few cuts, and mix some originals with a few old chestnuts and you get the idea. If you like things on the bop side and/or dig the call of the pipes, this one won't let you down.
Track Listing: I Didn't Know What Time It Was, It Could Happen To You, New York Nights, You Stepped Out of a Dream, Slidin', Bittersweet, My Foolish Heart, The Cottage, Second Waltz, Scrapple From the Apple
Personnel: Hendrik Meurkens (harmonica), Eric Alexander (tenor sax on tracks 2,3,5 & 8), Dado Maroni (piano), Chris Berger (bass), Jimmy Cobb (drums)
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.