Zoho Music, 2012

Listen to Excerpts from All Tracks

Track Listing

1. La Esperanza 5:02 Listen

2. Slow Breeze 4:51 Listen

3. Frenzelosa (Choro No. 2) 3:04 Listen

4. Odessa in April 6:14 Listen

5. Pa Rio 4:52 Listen

6. Out of Reach 6:33 Listen

7. La Puerta 5:18 Listen

8. She Lives in Brazil 4:26 Listen

9. Maya Roots 4:59 Listen

10. Mountain Drive 5:48 Listen

11. Celebrando 3:15 Listen

Produced by Gabriel Espinosa & Hendrik Meurkens. Executive Producer: Joachim “Jochen” Becker. Funded in part by Central College, Pella, Iowa. Recorded May 24-27, 2011, by Michael Brorby at Acoustic Recording, Brooklyn, NY. Mixed by Michael Brorby at Acoustic Recording. Mastered by Jay Dudt at Audible Images, Pittsburgh, PA. Package design: Jack Frisch.

Hendrik Meurkens, harmonica

Gabriel Espinosa bass, vocals on # 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11

Anat Cohen clarinet on # 3, 5, 9, tenor on # 6

Jim Seeley trumpet, flugel horn

Alison Wedding vocals

Molly Blythe background voals on # 5, 7, 11

Misha Tsiganov piano, fender rhodes

Antonio Sanchez drums on # 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9

Mauricio Zottarelli – drums on #1, 4, 8, 10, 11; percussion

All About Jazz Review

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.

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