If you were asked who Hendrik Meurkens and Misha Tsiganov were, there would probably be a blank stare on your face. You are certainly not alone. The duo has a new album released earlier this month titled Junity Duo & Quartet. I was pleasantly surprised when I listened to it. Hendrik Meukens is an outstanding harmonica player and vibraphonist and Misha Tsiganov is great on piano. Getting back to who they are, Hendrik Meurkens is from Germany and has been called the most important jazz harmonica player since Toots Thielemans. As a matter of fact, Meurkens harmonica playing is a lot like Toots Thielemans. He was inspired so much by Thielemans that he taught himself to master the vibraphone.
Misha Tsiganov is from Russia and besides playing the piano, he is also the arranger on this project. The other musicians on the album are Oleg Osenkov on bass and Willard Dyson on drums. Hendrik Meurkens and Misha Tsiganov have been collaborating for almost a decade. There are 13 tracks on this disc including a couple of Lennon/McCartney songs: Norwegian Wood and Blackbird. The other notable songs include: Ruby, My Dear, West Coast Blues, Pent Up House, Lady Bears Lullaby and the title tune Junity.
The old saying, 'you can't judge a book by its cover' certainly apply to this album. Sometimes you just have to take the time to listen to a recording. The harmonica has always been a great instrument and often it has been a secondary one. On this album the harmonica is the primary instrument and it sounds terrific. If you have a chance, definitely give this one a listen. I'm sure you will be glad that you did. You can get to know Hendrik Meurkens by logging on to the website: www.hendrikmeurkens.com and Misha Tsiganov at www.mishajazzmusic.com.