A-Records AL, 1997
5. A Rã
8. Muito A Vontade
Hendrik Meurkens – harmonica, vibes
Helio Alves – piano
Romero Lubambo – guitar, cavaquinho
Torben Westergaard – bass
Portinho – drums
Cyro Baptista – percussion
This album was recorded during one of the European tours that Helio, Portinho and myself did with different bass players during the nineties. I learned that playing every night and traveling together on the bus for weeks makes a band tight.
Here, we take five American standards and give them a Brazilian treatment. Claudio Roditi said you could take any standard and play it in Samba and it will work. With these tracks, we prove that “The man is right!”
Someday My Prince Will Come took quite a journey from Disney to Miles to Brazil. Two tunes, A Rã and Muito A Vontade, are by João Donato. His tunes are always great Jazz vehicles because there were actually written as instrumentals, unlike Jobim’s tunes, which really are songs.
I play vibes here. My Musser M55 vibraphone, that I keep in Europe, is the best sounding set of vibes that I have played on. Ever. I bought it in Boston in 1977 as a used instrument so it must have been manufactured in the early seventies. What make a vibes sound good are the bars and the tuning of the resonators. The resonators one can mess with. The bars are what they are. The day these bars were made the stars must have been in the right position.
This is the second time that Helio joins me on one of my albums. He is also on OCTOBER COLORS, ENCONTROS and AMAZON RIVER. Helio is quite simply the best Brazilian Jazz pianist that walks the planet. Over and out. On the other instruments, you always have the choice between several great players. If you are looking for a piano player that plays excellent Jazz and also has the Brazilian feel, Helio is your guy. He has been an important part of my music since 1994. And he also learned my chorinhos. Check out The Peach on AMAZON RIVER. The guy is worth his money.
Also featured on the CD is bassist Torben Westergaard. He hooks up with Portinho exceptionally well. Both of them are also featured on DIG THIS SAMBA. Torben is a very talented composer. Check out his website.
“He plays his main instrument, the chromatic harmonica, and shows the supple melodious grace and underlying improvisational moxie that makes him one of the precious few musicians to extend the Toots Thielemans tradition of chromatic harp – virtuosity in check with taste.” – Josef Woodard – JazzTimes, May, 2000
“As for Meurkens, his ability on harmonica is comfortably in a league with elder statesman Toots Theielsmans. They both exhibit harmonic sophistication and true jazz expression with Meurkens’ tone not as lush and overtly emotional as Toots’; it’s a sharper, quicker attack more akin to a keyboard than a horn.” Cadence, September, 2000
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