HARPERS’ BAZAARE…Gregoire Maret: Wanted, Yvonnick Prene: Breathe, Hendrik Meurkens: Harmonica Rex,

When you think of the harmonica, usually blueswailing comes to your mind. These two releases have artists playing the more jazz-friendly chromatic harp. Think Toots Thielman. Lots to like here!

Gregoire Maret uses his writing skill, socializing skills and expert talents on the chromatic harmonica for this album filled with guest appearances and accessible easy listening jazz. A core team of James Genus/b, Ricardo Vogt/g, Gerald Clayton/key-p  and Terri Lyne Carrington welcome a plethora of other musicians and vocalists, with Carrington joining in with Kokay on a hip hop vocal on “2 Beats” with an accompanying string trio. Maret’s harmonica delivers a Stevie Wonderful mood with bass clarinetist Chris Potter on a mellow “Blue In Green” while he ruminates with a wistful Ivan Lins” on a romantic “Voo Do Passaro.” Synthesized soul mixes electronics with Take 6 vocalist Mark Kibble on the title track, while his solo with Luciana Souza’s voice and Clayton’s piano creates warm waves on “Groove” The album closes with a ringer, as Maret teams with the late jimmy Scott for a tender “26th Of May.” Heart rendered and heart warming.

Chromatic harpist Yvonnick Prene blows in with a classic Hammond B3 atmosphere with Peter Bernstein/g, Allan Mednard/dr and Jared Gold with the Leslies. The result is a pair of organs veering back and forth in a successful atmosphere, as the quartet can get dreamy as on”Got To Go” or fires on all cylinders during “Blues Comes Down the Seine” and “As Night Falls.” Bernstein contributes some rich guitar work, particularly on “Looking Up” and “Armorica,” while Prene mixes lyricism with soul n”The Comedian” and “Got To Go.” They wheeze to please!

Hendrik Meurkens temas up with a swinging core team of Dado Moroni/p, Marco Panascia/b and legendary drummer Jimmy Cobb as well as guests Joe Magnarelli/tp-fh and Anders Bostrom/fl  for this gently swinging collection. Meurkens’ tone is warm and Getz-like on velvety pieces like “In Your Own Sweet Way” and “What’s New.” The two horns join in for a snappy blowout on “SKJ” while Moroni’s piano gets bluesy with Magnarelli and the leader on “Afternoon” and Bostrom glows along with the chromatic harp on the ballad “A Summer In San Francisco.” Rich spring breezes.


Sunnyside Records




Leave a Reply