Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Fest: CD Review & Interview with Edmar Castaneda

June 26th, 2012, 12:00 pm by Greg

Review and interview by J Hunter

See below for info on how you can win a pair of free tix to Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival at SPAC this weekend…

Edmar Castaneda returns to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs on Sunday (July 1), kicking off Day Two of the 35th annual Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival. Here’s a review of his new CD and a short interview:

“Double Portion”
(Arpa y Voz Records)

It was my favorite game of 2009. I’d play the opening track of “Entre Cuedas,” Edmar Castaneda’s debut disc as a leader, to various unsuspecting people and then say, “Okay, guess the instrument!” Guesses included guitar, banjo, mandolin, and even hammered dulcimer. But never a harp – and not the kind Paul Butterfield played. We’re talking the instrument that’s usually played with symphony orchestras, and never in the ground-breaking, transcendent Latin jazz Castaneda made on “Entre Cuedas” with such genre heavy hitters as John Scofield and Joe Locke.

On his sophomore effort “Double Portion,” you might expect the artist to go bigger on his vision; instead, Castaneda chose micro over macro, splitting tracks between solo pieces and duets – no drums, no bass and (seemingly) no interest in expanding the territory Castaneda had already claimed. For a devotee of “Entre Cuedas,” this development was a disappointment… until I figured out what Castaneda was doing and realized the depth of this music’s intimacy.

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