Roger Davidson Quartet shines with pure spirit on “Music From the Heart”


Coming September 4, 2018 from pianist and composer Roger Davidson and his quartet, is “Music From the Heart.” The album is at once romantic, but the music shines with the expressions of love in its purest forms.

“Music From the Heart” features Hendrik Meurkens and uses Brazilian and other cultural elements to form a soundscape of classic-sounding songs that at once evoke dancing while reminding listeners this is jazz with a theme.

Roger Davidson Quartet and Hendrik Meurkens, “Songs From the Heart”

Davidson composed the songs on the album for his wife, Nilcelia. While this is a jazz album, Davidson is known for defying categories. He seems to take his inspiration from a variety of sources. The music itself might be Latin, Brazilian, sacred, or some other form, but Davidson’s work remains unique in the spirit and approach he brings to it.

On “Music From the Heart,” Davidson’s quartet includes Davidson on piano, Meurkens on vibraphone/harmonica,  Eduardo Belo on bass and Adriano Santos on drums.

“Music From the Heart” is Davidson’s second album with Meurkens. Davidson states the following about what he wants listeners to get from the album: ” The thing I would most like people to take away from this album is love. Take it into your life and let it enhance your being.”

“Enhance your being” is exactly what happens when a person listens to this recording. Some will find themselves listening to the crisp and lively songs over and over again.

All of the songs on “Music From the Heart” are original. Two standout tracks are “Celia” and “Samba de Alegria.”

“Celia” by Roger Davidson Quartet

The plaintive call of the harmonica sets the tone for the song. The harmonica (which isn’t always used in jazz) is underscored by a slow, but pretty piano line. The harmonica evokes Italy and other places known for great views and waterways. The song seems to sweep over beautiful scenery. The harmonica’s lines are more intricate and nuanced than perhaps some listeners thought the instrument was capable of.  Still, the easy flow of the song never evaporates. Even after the harmonica plays its last dramatic line, the memory of it lingers.

“Samba de Alegria” by Roger Davidson Quartet

A fast and festive drum line kicks the song open. A jaunty piano line sounds as if it is doing a quick grapevine over the drumming. The danceable elements are augmented by a harmonica that almost immediately gets a showcase. The drums, too, are shown off in rock-like fashion. The showcase is impressive for its heavy-hitting notes. The drumming gets another showcase shortly thereafter.

“Samba de Alegria” like so many of the songs, is short. This is just an observation, not a criticism. “Samba” invites listeners into the world of the song, into the happy occasion that has inspired the soundscape. But in just three minutes and 11 seconds, the song tells its entire story. It is the last song on the recording, so it allows for listeners to absorb the sound and mood of all the other songs, and when “Samba” ends, listeners are a bit caught off-guard, but are happily willing to listen again.


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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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