Edmar Casteneda: Entre Cuerdas


Entre Cuerdas



Entre Cuerdas (ArtistShare 95)

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Edmar Castaneda (harp), Marshall Gilkes (trombone),

Dave Sillman (drums)


Composed by Edmar Castaneda


Recorded: New York, 2009


Rating: 92/100 (learn more)

Jazz harp is not as rare as you might think. There is an International Jazz Harp Foundation and on their website, you can read biographies of jazz harpists of the past, including Adele Girard, Dorothy Ashby and Alice Coltrane, as well as current jazz harpists like Edmar Castaneda. Casteneda plays the Colombian harp, which is slightly smaller than the classical harp, and with his spell-binding technique, the angelic harp becomes a jazz instrument of formidable expression. Castaneda uses his left hand to maintain dynamic grooves that would normally be provided by an upright bass. Concurrently, his right hand produces flourishes of sounds that range from delicate single note melody lines to chordal clumps.

On the intro to the spirited “Entre Cuerdas” (which translates to "between strings") Castaneda's harp sounds like a cross between a flamenco guitar and a Middle Eastern oud. Trombonist Marshall Gilkes uses deeply slurred tones that pose the perfect counterpoint to Castaneda’s slightly tinny, high register fingerings. Half way through the song, Castaneda slaps his bass strings which re-energizes the piece and Gilkes replies with a raucous response. The combination of sounds, along with a battery of effects from drummer/percussionist Sillman, creates an engaging interchange that could stir the soul of a dancer.

Reviewer: Ralph A. Miriello

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