Hiromi is back, and her new project is sure to surprise even the most seasoned jazz fan. After acclaimed solo and trio projects (alongside storied bandmates Anthony Jackson and Simon Phillips), the jazz pianist and composer returns with a new tour and soon-to-be recorded album with the Colombian harpist Edmar Castañeda, with whom she will record a live album at the Montreal Jazz Festival later this summer. She gave us the backstory.
Congratulations on your upcoming duo album with harpist Edmar Castañeda. How did you decide on a piano/harp duo as your next project?
I met Edmar at the Montreal Jazz Festival last June. I had heard about him, but I had never seen him live before. I was just blown away by his musicality, and I instantly felt that we shared the same musical language. We exchanged contact info, and last July when I had my week at the Blue Note in New York, I invited him as my special guest. We played a couple of songs together and that was the beginning. We just knew when we played together that we had to do something - the chemistry was so natural.
What kinds of things were you and Edmar playing together?
When we first started, we were playing some of Edmar’s and my originals. There was one song of his that I really liked. We also played some standards.
Is there something about playing duo with him that makes you play differently than in other situations?
Well, in any setting, you really have to feel a strong connection with the musicians that you are on stage with. The connection I have with Edmar is very strong. Since last June, I wrote a piece for piano and harp, and I wrote songs particularly for this project. So, I feel very comfortable being on stage with him. We’re going to do a full tour until November, with shows in New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., California, all over Canada, Colorado. Then we go to Europe, Japan and back to the United States.
The last time we spoke was for the release of your album Spark in 2016, where you were performing in a trio context with your longtime bandmates Anthony Jackson on bass and Simon Phillips on drums. Do you have any plans to make more music with them?
I’m not sure – I’ve done four albums with them and we were constantly working together for six years. I just feel that now I need something else. I feel like it was fate to find Edmar and I feel so inspired to write for this project. The will to write is so important for me. I always want to compose something for the project. It’s a big thing for me.
Find out more at http://www.hiromimusic.com