Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

53

Edmar Castaneda: Double Portion

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
There is probably a greater chance of winning the lottery and being struck by lightning than building a career as a successful, world-renowned jazz Colombian harpist. Fortunately, Edmar Castaneda was more interested in pursuing his vision than studying statistics and probability. The Colombian-born harp phenom, who arrived in the United States in 1994, didn't have the benefit of following in the footsteps of others when it came to finding his way through jazz on his instrument of choice. He, however, had talent, determination and drive, which clearly helped him find success in his chosen endeavor.

His first two albums—Cuarto De Colores (Self Produced, 2006) and Entre Cuerdas (Artistshare, 2009)—were vibrant outings that featured some high-profile guests and highlighted the chemistry within Castaneda's one-of-a-kind trio. Flexible trombone wizard Marshall Gilkes and drummer/percussionist hybrid Dave Silliman joined with the harpist to form one of the most compelling threesomes around, but all things must come to an end and those two men are nowhere to be found here. Instead, Castaneda chooses to lighten the load on his third release, splitting the ten tracks evenly between solo performances and duo numbers.

Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Puerto Rican saxophonist Miguel Zenon and Brazilian mandolina man Hamilton de Holanda join the Colombian harpist on a program of originals, save for Argentinean icon Astor Piazzolla's "Libertango," that has a pan-Latin sensibility. Rubalcaba's appearances provide two opposing views of this pairing, with the album-opening title track displaying some unnerving elements and dealing with the contrast between both men and "Ocaso De Mar" highlighting their interwoven ideas. Zenón and Castaneda breed fire when they join forces, engendering a wish that they'd connected on more than two tracks, but you can't always get what you want. Hamilton De Holanda only appears on the Piazzolla piece, but the lone opportunity to hear Castaneda interact, mano-a-mano, with this kindred spirit proves to be satisfying.

While much of the solo harp work early on proves to be a bit more relaxed and open-ended in nature, Castaneda kicks things into high gear on the album-ending "Samba For Orvieto." This tour-de-force display of musical machismo comes with percussive intensity, pianistic ideals and guitar-like allure, as Castaneda closes out the program with a bang. Double Portion is a departure from the harpist's previous work in scope, but not direction. In slimming things down, Castaneda provides an opportunity to hear his thoughts and conversations in more intimate settings, making this a valuable companion piece to his previous work.

Track Listing: Double Portion; Zeudi; A Harp In New York; Poem Of Strings; Libertango; Ocaso De Mar; Quitapesares; Portrait D'un Jardin; A La Tierra; Samba For Orvieto.

Personnel: Edmar Castaneda: Colombian harp, classical, harp; Gonzalo Rubalcaba: piano (1, 6); Miguel Zenon: alto saxophone (3, 7); Hamilton De Holanda: mandolina (5).

Title: Double Portion | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Self Produced

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Hastings Jazz Collective/Shadow Dances Album Reviews
Hastings Jazz Collective/Shadow Dances
By Dan McClenaghan
May 21, 2019
Read Crowded Heart Album Reviews
Crowded Heart
By Nicholas F. Mondello
May 21, 2019
Read That's a Computer Album Reviews
That's a Computer
By Jerome Wilson
May 21, 2019
Read All I Do Is Bleed Album Reviews
All I Do Is Bleed
By Paul Naser
May 21, 2019
Read LE10 18-05 Album Reviews
LE10 18-05
By Karl Ackermann
May 20, 2019
Read Remembering Miles Album Reviews
Remembering Miles
By Dan McClenaghan
May 20, 2019
Read Merry Peers Album Reviews
Merry Peers
By Bruce Lindsay
May 20, 2019