Be Here Now: Hendrik Meurkens & Bob DeVos @ Flights Of Fantasy, 4/2/11

David Perry is no stranger to the regional jazz community; in fact, he’s been in the thick of it as a fan, advisor and supporting voice for the past 20 years.

Several years back, when A Place For Jazz had a last minute cancellation in the midst of their fall concert series, Perry took the initiative in the nick of time to get the right people together and bring in heavyweight sax-master David “Fathead” Newman to play at the Whisperdome.

Back in November, Perry undertook his first venture into the world of producing, promoting and personally funding a jazz concert – bringing in monster saxophonist Jerry Weldon to his wife’s Flights Of Fantasy bookstore in Colonie. Though the two-night stand was a musical success for the jazz community, after the final tally, it cost Perry a few shekels out of his own pocket to pay the musicians and other related costs.

No worries, the satisfaction of putting on the concert outweighed the financial loss; Perry was determined to try it again.

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So on Saturday night, Perry is teaming up with Grammy-Award winning jazz producer Tom Bollino and his Planet Arts organization to present an evening of “Jazz one2one” featuring harmonica & vibes virtuoso Hendrik Meurkens and jazz guitar maven Bob DeVos at Flights Of Fantasy.

German-born Meurkens is a spiritual protégé of jazz harmonica master Toots Thielemans, and though he was educated at Berklee on the vibraphone, he is self-taught on the chromatic harmonica. And it’s the latter that has opened the doors for him around the world as a composer, studio musician, bandleader and recording artist with 15 recordings under his belt, including his latest musical gem, “A Night In Jakarta.”

Meurkens has embraced – and beautifully plays in a jazz context – the musical idioms of Brazil. It’s been a while since he graced a Nippertown stage, having played the Gazebo stage at the SPAC Jazz Festival over 15 years ago.

On Saturday night, Meurkens will be joined on stage by exceptional jazz guitarist Bob DeVos- who performed with his group at the Lake George Jazz Weekend several years ago.

“It’s a labor of love co-presenting this event,” Perry declares enthusiastically. “I’m certainly not doing this for any financial gain because I have no idea how much I’ll be out of pocket at the end of the night. But in the end, it’s about the people in the area coming out to comfortably enjoy the fantastic music played by two world-class musicians.”

Hendrik Meurkens and Bob DeVos will perform at Flights Of Fantasy Books and Games in Colonie at 8pm on Saturday. Admission is $10.

Story by Andrzej Pilarczyk

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