Bill Cunliffe & Hendrik Meurkens - Cabin In The Sky - CD Release

Bill Cunliffe & Hendrik Meurkens - Cabin In The Sky - CD Release

Tue · October 16, 2018

Doors: 6:30 pm / Show: 7:30 pm

Tickets starting from $20

Off Sale

The full dinner menu is available for purchase as soon as doors open. Your ticket purchase is the only reservation you need. A minimum of two items ($20.00) is required per person. $10 ticket INCREASE on day of show. Valet parking available with validation for $6. There is metered street parking as well but be sure to read the signs. Parking is NOT permitted on Woodbridge St. after 9pm nightly.

Bill Cunliffe & Hendrik Meurkens
Bill Cunliffe & Hendrik Meurkens
"Hendrik Meurkens is a natural-born collaborator. That statement might smack of the obvious, as jazz musicians on the whole tend to thrive on a synergistic model, but it need be said with regard to this German-born, New York-based harmonica hero (and vibraphonist of note). Whether engaging in a pas de deux with pianist Misha Tsiganov, sharing top billing with bassist Gabriel Espinosa, fronting a swinging outfit with the legendary Jimmy Cobb stoking the flames behind him, or taking to Brazilian waters with Antonio Adolfo, Meurkens always displays an unusual level of comfort and ease. So it's no surprise to observe the breezy chemistry that came of this studio meeting with pianist Bill Cunliffe.

With a focus on classics and a mostly straightforward outlook, Meurkens and Cunliffe deliver a trouble-free flight. The swinging title track and a "Smoke On The Water"-laced take on Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Wave" make for an easy take-off and landing, respectively, and the material in between speaks to a partnership built on bonhomie.

These songs are sophisticated in different ways, yet they're all incredibly approachable when placed in the hands of this pair. Whether investigating an emotional uncertainty in Wayne Shorter's "Miyako," taking a cheery stance on Joe Zawinul's "Young And Fine," giving "Invitation" an exhilarating spin," or mining a coolly soulful vein on "Ode To Billie Joe," Meurkens and Cunliffe always find a way to give a song its due while stamping it with their individual and collective spirit(s).

While jazz fare born on the Great White Way and other chestnuts of varied origin and design make up the bulk of the program, originals have their place in the mix here, too. Meurkens' mellifluous "Afternoon," augmented with some Cunliffe-arranged strings, is a highlight; Cunliffe's bluesy "You Don't Know" broadens the color scheme, adding another shade to an already-vibrant picture; "Time To Say Goodbye" plays up the lyrical qualities so notable throughout this entire affair; and "Prague In March" marks Meurkens as a writer of extreme clarity and emotional depth.

If ostentatious offerings and flashy displays are your thing, this one isn't for you. There are plenty of solos to marvel at across this album, but each serves the song without drawing undue attention away from it. Cabin In The Sky may be a first go-round for Meurkens and Cunliffe as a team, but the music doesn't betray that fact. Their rapport is undeniable." -All About Jazz, Dan Bilawsky

Personnel: Hendrik Meurkens: harmonica; Bill Cunliffe: piano.
Bill Cunliffe
Bill Cunliffe
Jazz pianist, composer and Grammy Award-winning arranger Bill Cunliffe is known for his innovative and swinging recordings and compositions. Bill began his career as pianist and arranger with the Buddy Rich Big Band and worked with Frank Sinatra, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Benny Golson and James Moody. He has since established himself as a solo artist and bandleader, with more than a dozen albums under his name.

Bill currently plays with his trio; his big band; his Latin band, Imaginación; and his classical-jazz ensemble, Trimotif. He performs in the U.S. and around the world as a leader and sideman as well as a soloist with symphony orchestras.
Hendrik Meurkens
Hendrik Meurkens
Hendrik Meurkens, a virtuoso on both the chromatic harmonica and the vibraphone, is the most important jazz harmonica player since Toots Thielemans. German-born but now based in New York, Meurkens’ recordings and performances garner worldwide acclaim because the transcendent beauty of his music has universal appeal.

A two-mallet player in the tradition of Milt Jackson and Bobby Hutcherson, Hendrik Meurkens was en-route to being an instantly recognizable vibraphonist when he heard Toots Thielemans. Inspired by the sound of Thielemans’ harmonica, he taught himself the difficult-to-master instrument.

Hendrik Meurkens’ other life-changing musical experience was his introduction to samba and bossa nova. He was so moved by Brazilian music that after perfecting his unique musical voice at Berklee, as a vibraphone major, he moved to Rio in the early 80s to totally immerse himself in music and culture of Brazil.
Venue Information:
Upstairs At Vitello's
4349 Tujunga Ave
Studio City, CA, 91604
http://www.vitellosrestaurant.com/