Last weekend, Hermine Deurloo shared the stage with a talented group of musicians from New York. People tend to associate the sound of the chromatic harmonica with autumnal melancholy, but Deurloo and her formation The Big Apple Band built a musical party in the sold-out Amsterdam Bimhuis. Even complicated time signatures sounded light-hearted thanks to Steve Gadd’s relaxed drumming and Tony Scherr’s effectively groovy bass guitar (Scherr was co-producer and arranger of the Riverbeast album). The rhythm section laid a catchy foundation for Luca Benedetti’s relaxed guitar work and Jon Cowherd’s (who turned out to be a good vocalist as well) hammering rhythm-and-blues.
Hermine Deurloo beamed like the hostess who knows well before the end of the party that her mission has been successful. Deurloo is not an artist who talks a lot nor does she share too personal revelations, but with her instrument she finds the right tone, also to show her grief about the loss of her beloved cousin; ‘So Long, Redhead’ was a moving highlight of the evening.
Deurloo had done her utmost for the Amsterdam audience; Annie Tangberg and Eilidh Martin added the icing on the cake: their cellos draped a warm string bed across the stage. The band mainly played their own compositions, most of them from the Riverbeast album. The musicians used influences from New Orleans (‘Walk With Me’), Africa (‘Hoop and Pole’) and mixed them with jazz and soul.
Steve Gadd always starts in a modest way. He is the master of building up things gradually; Gadd’s playing emphasizes the promise rather than the musical fulfillment, so that his rhythms are always subtle but exciting. This was an evening about the joy of making music and the celebration of life.
Hermine van Deurloo & Steve Gadd, Bimhuis, Amsterdam, 29th February 2020
Watch the concert on BimhuisTV: