• Jonathan Widran

HENDRIK MEURKENS/BILL CUNLIFFE, Cabin in the Sky

If the late great piano/harmonica tandem of Bill Evans and Toots Thielemans were still alive, the remarkably crafted, jubilantly adventurous sequel to their landmark 1979 dual album Affinity would sensually sway, sashay, roll, and dream exactly the way their storied contemporary counterparts Hendrik Meurkens (renowned as the most important jazz harmonica player since Toots) and Grammy winning pianist, composer and arranger Bill Cunliffe do on their long awaited first collaboration Cabin in the Sky.

Creating their compelling, stylistically eclectic gem without drums and bass allows the piano and harmonica to be the as well as harmonic and melodic focus, to dynamic effect. They give themselves a unique musical landscape to apply their decades of jazz, pop and Brazilian inspiration, complementing their four colorful originals with thoughtful re-imaginings of classics by Wayne Shorter, Joe Zawinul, Bobbie Gentry, Jobim (with a little Ritchie Blackmore thrown in!) and others from deep in Broadway history.

It goes without saying that fans of Meurkens and Cunliffe need to visit this Cabin in the Sky soon!

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