The concept is simple and smart: Edmar Castaneda, master of the stringed llanera harp, and Grégoire Maret, equally adept on harmonica (a.k.a. mouth harp), meet up and make beautiful music together. It’s not a pairing that comes to mind readily; both instruments are rare enough in the jazz world to be perennially quarantined to that nebulous “Other” category in year-end best-of polls. When they show up in jazz at all, it’s usually to serve very different purposes, the harmonica to lend a bluesy touch and the harp, more often than not, taking its place within an orchestra to provide the occasional dab of extra lushness.
Both the Colombian Castaneda and the Swiss Maret have loftier goals than that. Each is ceaselessly adventurous, eager to find a new avenue of expression, stretching definitions and poking at boundaries. That they would think to come together like this isn’t all that surprising. Nor is it a great reveal that they stay far from stereotyped usage of their tools throughout this thoroughly enthralling duo set.