JazzTimes - p.110
"Meurkens deserves more recognition as a composer. His stimulating 'Sambatropolis,' his intricate and intoxicating chorinhos 'The Bee' and 'Choro da Neve'...and his minor-blues-turned-samba 'Hot and Stuffy' are all top-notch creations."
Global Rhythm (Publication) (p.43) - "'Ocean Lights' is a soothing ballad that allow Meurkens the space to display his incredible chops on the harmonica..."
Personnel: Hendrik Meurkens (harmonica, vibraphone); Hendrik Meurkens; Rodrigo Ursaia (flute, tenor saxophone); Ian James MacDonald, Ian MacDonald (piano); Gustavo Amarante (bass guitar); Pedro Ramos (cavaquinho); Jed Levy (flute, tenor saxophone); H‚lio Alves (piano); Adriano Santos, Duduka Da Fonseca, Mauricio Zottarelli (drums).
Audio Mixer: Michael Brorby.
Liner Note Author: Bill Milkowski.
Recording information: Acoustic Recording, Brooklyn, NY (03/21/2007/03/22/2007).
Photographer: Jack Frisch.
On Sambatropolis Hendrik Meurkens continues to offer the stellar fusion of chorinho and jazz that has marked his musical output over the past 17 years. Accompanied by a strong Brazilian rhythm section, Meurkens' dual talents on harmonica and vibes are showcased on 11 exceptional compositions ranging from ballads to blues, bossas to lively chorinhos. The energized title track, which was inspired by renowned Brazilian composer Joao Donato, opens the set and immediately captivates. The band works within the exuberant chorinho form on two songs -- "The Bee" and "Choro da Neve" -- offering challenging unison lines over intricate chord changes. This song is a prime example of Meurkens' vibrant harmonica chops. Two beautiful melodic ballads provide a stunning vehicle for his seductive approach. On "Ocean Lights," head flautist Rodrigo Ursaia sets the tone for Meurkens to work his appealing sound, which truly reflects the romanticism inherent in his playing. On the jazz standard, "You Don't Know What Love Is" Jed Levy's resonant saxophone takes the melody while Meurkens adds beautiful stylistic inflections and note ornaments on the vibes. Everything works on this song and the listener is left feeling the heartfelt emotions of the players. The recording closes with a burning Brazilian flavored rendition of "Bernie's Tune." The ensemble delivers on all levels with exemplary soloing, stylistic inflection and improvisation. Their ideas have meaning and the swinging jazz style they fuse with Brazilian rhythms creates a mature jazz sound. Overall, the entire recording exceeds the musical brilliance Meurkens set forth on New York Samba Jazz Quintet. It is a solid Brazilian groove that shines with Meurkens' agile vibraphone lines, chromatic harmonica, and well-executed compositions. Highly recommended. ~ Paula Edelstein