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Hiromi & Edmar Castañeda: Live in Montreal (Telarc)

Review of live album from collaboration between the Japanese pianist and Colombian harpist

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Cover of Hiromi & Edmar Castañeda album Live in Montreal
Cover of Hiromi & Edmar Castañeda album Live in Montreal

If you saw those two names paired and immediately thought, “What an odd collaboration,” join the club. Hiromi, the firebrand Japanese pianist, all flying hair and flamboyant physicality, and Edmar Castañeda, the equally virtuosic yet relatively reserved Colombian harpist: What could they say to each other?

Plenty, as it turns out. Recorded at the 2017 Montreal International Jazz Festival, a stop on their extensive tour, this nine-track set (four of them comprising a suite titled “The Elements”) is often breathtaking in its intrepidity and spirit. Fellow adventurers, the musicians’ like-mindedness far outweighs any disparities.

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