Personnel includes: Rick Holland (trumpet); Hendrick Meurkens (harmonica).
Personnel: Rick Holland (flugelhorn); Hendrik Meurkens (harmonica, vibraphone); Terry Lower (piano); Larry Ochiltree (drums).
Liner Note Author: John Ephland.
Recording information: 11/21/1999/11/12/2000.
As with his other releases on Cadence Jazz Records, Rick Holland keeps it simple and sweet with a modest, unassuming, and entertaining set designed to relax even the most stressed-out executive. The flügelhornist is not out to win any awards, but in the process he produces some wonderful interpretations of classic tunes in the jazz repertoire and his own takes on a few pieces contributed by the versatile harmonica player Hendrik Meurkens and one by Holland himself. Holland is particularly impressive when simply singing a melody through his horn: on "Come Rain or Come Shine," for example, he bends the core of the song just enough to let you know he is doing it purposefully. His tone might remind some of Chet Baker, who is clearly an influence, although Baker achieved a similarly light and mellow sound on trumpet. The rhythm section is one with which Holland has performed often, and while tight and rhythmically solid, some of Terry Lower's solos -- for example, on Meurkens' "Bolero" -- are somewhat staid even for the more conservative style in which the pianist flourishes. For those who enjoy jazz harmonica within the modern jazz mainstream, there is plenty of Meurkens' deft soloing even though his composing skills are slightly less impressive. Ed Fedewa contributes an attractively sleepy sound on bass, while Holland's improvisations are paragons of good taste. This one touches on the heart of modern jazz in a highly accessible setting with an impressive group, and the flügelhorn and harmonica in the front line are a telling combination. ~ Steven Loewy
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