Two masters of their instruments, Switzerland-born harmonica player Grégorie Maret and Colombian harpist Edmar Castañeda, are set to release the unprecedented collaboration, Harp Vs. Harp.
“I was mesmerized by what Edmar did on the harp,” says Maret, who first performed with Castañeda during Marcus Miller’s set at the Monte Carlo Jazz Festival.
“Musically, it felt fresh and beautiful, without the feel of novelty. We knew that we had to do something together.”
Castañeda invited Maret to perform with his quartet in Bogotá, and the surrounding mountains. Both Grégorie and Edmar were raised in the mountains, eventually settling in New York City as teenagers, and the landscape immediately connected them.
Over the course of the past decade, Grégorie Maret has emerged as a unique and compelling new voice across a wide spectrum of the modern jazz world. And he has redefined the role of the harmonica, finding fresh pathways through a remarkable
variety of styles. The extensive list of heavy- hitters who have enlisted him for their own projects is unparalleled: Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, Cassandra Wilson, and Marcus Miller, and he’s guested with Prince, Sting, Elton John, Jimmy Scott, Dianne
Reeves, Toots Thielemans, Richard Bona, Terri Lyne Carrington, Tito Puente, Kurt Elling, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Charlie Hunter, Youssn’Dour, Me’Shell Ndegeocello, Pete Seeger, David Sanborn and George Benson.
Mentored by the great Paquito D’Rivera, Castañeda is a virtuoso of the arpallanera, and creates astonishing textural variety and rhythmic variety with with its 34 strings and wide tonal range. He’s collaborated with John Scofield, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Marcus Miller and John Patitucci, Hamilton de Holanda, Ivan Lins, and at the Big Ears Festival with Béla Fleck.
Harp Vs Harp features arrangements of traditional Brazilian songs, “Romance de Barrio” (featuring vocalist Andrea Tierra), “Manha de Carnaval,” “Santa Morena” (featuring Béla Fleck), and Maret’s composition, “Blueserinho.” The duo shares their take on Charlie Haden’s “Our Spanish Love Song,” and Castañeda’s composition “No Fear” is alongside Maret’s “Hope.”
"This concept shouldn't work - but it does!"
“Maret and Castañeda continue to innovate, exploring such themes as spirituality and nostalgia, expressing their shared love of Brazilian music and jazz, and showcasing their strong musical affinity.”
"You’ll rarely find a more harmonious pairing.”
Nate Chinen, NPR Music / WBGO (US)
„Blues-leaning harmonica star Grégoire Maret and guitar-like Colombian jazz harpist Edmar Castañeda stir Breezy, Pat Methenyesque swingers, ardent ballads, and deep-toned, slow tango.“
The Guardian (GB)
„You may well search hard and long but may probably never find two more virtuosic musicians deliver a new album in a set-up which is so very unusual. […] A pleasure from beginning to end.“
„A very strong connection.“