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Edmar Castaneda/Grégoire Maret: Harp vs. Harp (ACT)

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 … Read More “Edmar Castaneda/Grégoire Maret: Harp vs. Harp (ACT)”

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Gregoire Maret: Wanted

Given all the first-rate musicians here, Wanted is a major disappointment. Grégoire Maret hit with a splash a decade ago, because of his talent but also because of his vehicle. He plays the chromatic harmonica, an instrument rare in jazz, whose haunting sonorities make a direct claim on the human heart. Maret has been a … Read More “Gregoire Maret: Wanted”

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Grégoire Maret: Grégoire Maret

Harmonica player Grégoire Maret’s self-titled leader debut couldn’t have featured any other instrument. It’s full of delicate arrangements that a more powerful ax would crush. Ironically, the harmonica is the album’s major problem. Specifically, Maret’s off-putting sound-thin, reedy and, with his predilection for the high register, shrill-seriously handicaps some otherwise fine music. And the music … Read More “Grégoire Maret: Grégoire Maret”

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