A harmonica in Brazilian jazz is uncommon to say the least. Yet Hendrik Meurkens makes it sound expressive and soulful in his New York Samba Jazz Quintet. Surrounded by an impressive group, Meurkens expresses himself through both the harmonica and vibes. The quintet plays a variety of music from Gershwin to Antonio Carlos Jobim, and adds an expressive Latin beat to it. The vibe playing of Meurkens is colorful and melodic. He pulls out a beautiful sound from the instrument that blends well with co-frontliner Jed Levy on tenor sax. His harmonica playing does not sound as out of place as one might first think. He plays complete, intriguing jazz thoughts while rarely scoping up to notes. He also plays with good intonation. Meurkens also displays his creative composing skills by featuring four of his originals on the album.
Helio Alves on piano plays exceptionally well. He comps well, and as he shows at the beginning and end of "A Rã", he can lay down a killer groove. His solos are filled with dense and intriguing melodies that continually build toward a climax. Jed Levy on tenor sax has a mellow sound that fits in well with the group’s Latin/ Samba playing. Drummer Adriano Santos lays down a relaxed groove and keeps the band moving forward through burning tunes like "Vamos Nessa".
On New York Samba Quintet Hendrik Meurkens displays his mastery of both the vibes and the harmonica in the Bossa/samba style. Recommend to anyone who enjoys the Bossa Nova and Samba styles.