Concord Picante, 1996

Concord Picante CCD-4728 / Recorded May 21-27, 1996

1. Her Smile (Meurkens) 

2. Boa Notícia

3. Desesperar Jamais 

4. Chelsea Nocturne (Meurkens) 

5. Angel Eyes

6. Saindo De Mim 

7. Felicidade

8. The Peach (Chorinho No.4) (Meurkens) 

9. One Note Samba

10. Passarim

11. Manhattan Samba (Meurkens) 

Hendrik Meurkens – Harmonica, Vibraphone
Ivan Lins – Vocals
Marty Ashby – Guitar (Acoustic and Electric)
Laura Dreyer – Flute, Sax (Soprano and Tenor)
Dario Eskenazi – Piano, Keyboards
Teo Lima – Drums
Romero Lubambo – Guitar (Acoustic & Electric), Cavaquinho
Rogério Botter Maio – Bass
Vanderlei Pereira – Drums
Portinho – Drums, Pandeiro
Jay Ashby – Percussion, Trombone, Arranger
Kip Reed – Bass
Claudio Roditi – Flugelhorn
Steve Sacks – Flute, Alto Sax, Arranger
Mark Soskin – Piano
Valtinho – Percussion
Jon Werking – Piano, Keyboards

Hendrik’s Personal Notes

Like AMAZON RIVER this album presents a wide variety of Brazilian styles in different settings.

On this album I am joined by a man I idolize, Ivan Lins. I discovered his music while I was living in Rio in the early 80’s. His songs are rich and beautiful and he is clearly one of the all-time great Brazilian songwriters who is also a wonderful singer with a great voice. Filling in the holes behind him on Desesperar Jamais was that type of musical moment I enjoy the most. This is a job for the harmonica. No other instrument can compete with the harmonica in this context.

We met again during a tour in Chile in 1997. Playing with Ivan and filling in behind his voice on his own great tunes is a grand experience and one of the highlights of my career.

Also featured on this album are several horn arrangements by Steve Sacks: A FelicidadePassarim and Manhattan Samba get a jazz oriented treatment with great solos by Mark Soskin, Laura Dreyer and Romero. Angel EyesOne Note Samba and the two Ivan Lins compositions were arranged by Jay Ashby.

Jay and I played together quite a bit and his smooth trombone in tandem with my harmonica makes for a very special sound. Harmonica doesn’t naturally blend with other instruments. It always tends to stick out because of the nature of the instrument’s overtones. Jay’s trombone and Claudio Roditi’s trumpet are two exceptions because their sounds are warm and full and that works well with my instrument.

This was the first recording of my composition, The Peach. At the time, my daughter Carolina was not yet one year old and her round baby face looked like a peach. So this one is for her. We recorded The Peach again in 2004 on AMAZON RIVER with Paquito on clarinet. Here Laura Dreyer plays it on flute. It’s not an easy head to play.

Chelsea Nocturne is dedicated to my friend John Clifford. John is a great photographer who has done most of my album covers. His pictures always catch the mood of my music. He calls album covers pictures with music in it. That’s his perspective and it works for me.

When I was commissioned to write something for the soundtrack of the movie Dolores Claiborne, I wrote two compositions so that they would have choice. The director picked Night In The Afternoon, which I later recorded on OCTOBER COLORS. The other tune was Chelsea Nocturne which we recorded on this CD.

One Note Samba gets a new face with Jay’s beautiful arrangement. Jay caught the melancholic element of my harmonica very nicely. And please, no more jokes about trombone players. The man can play.

Claudio sits in on Passarim. I didn’t plan on doing this, but ended up with three Jobim tunes on the album. His compositions are well suited for this kind of concept: beautiful melodies and great to blow on. Pretty much perfect compositions. Nothing less. Its no wonder everyone wants to play them.


“His use of the harmonica as full fledged member of the horn section and clever arrangements that support this position give a note of validity to use of the harmonica in Jazz. These are lots of good things on this disc: Wonderful melodies artfully interpreted, the right instrumentation, talented musicians, genuine Brazilian artists providing the right seasoning… Double thumbs up.” – Jonathan Berg – LA Jazz Scene – February, 1997

“Truly a musician and vagabond of the world, Meurkens takes the listener along with his all-star cast on a magical sambajazz excursion. A definite, undisputed must-have for any lover of Brazilian music or jazz!” Cash Box, August, 1996

“In this, Meurkens’ fifth album for Concord, the harmonicist redefines the role of challenging instrument and, in doing so, provides an inspired masterpiece for fans of Brazilian jazz. Not since Toots Thielemans has the harmonica held such promise for Brazilian song. Meurkens thoughtfully weaves his instrument in and out of the group arrangements to create one of the best Brazilian-jazz albums in recent memory.” Jazziz, March, 1997

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