About this Event
7:30pm - 8:30pm - Edmar Castaneda
8:45pm - 9:45pm - Johnathan Blake
Johnathan Blake, one of the most accomplished drummers of his generation, has also proven himself a complete and endlessly versatile musician — "the ultimate modernist," as John Murph of NPR has dubbed him. Blake's gift for composition and band leading reflects years of live and studio experience across the aesthetic spectrum.
Through years-long memberships in the Tom Harrell Quintet, the Kenny Barron Trio and other top ensembles, Blake has reaped the benefits of prolonged exposure to the greats of our time — arguably of all time. Through his powerful, evocative drumming and fully rounded artistry, he's also left a huge imprint on the music of such rising figures in jazz as Hans Glawischnig, Alex Sipiagin, Donny McCaslin, Avishai Cohen, Omer Avital, Patrick Cornelius, Michael Janisch, Shauli Einav, Jaleel Shaw and more. To date, Blake has appeared on over 50 albums.
Born in Philadelphia in 1976, Johnathan Blake is the son of renowned jazz violinist John Blake, Jr. — himself a stylistic chameleon and an important influence. After beginning on drums at age 10, Johnathan gained his first performing experience with the Lovett Hines Youth Ensemble, led by the renowned Philly jazz educator. It was during this period, at Hines's urging, that Blake began to compose his own music. Later he worked with saxophonist Robert Landham in a youth jazz ensemble at Settlement Music School.
Blake graduated from George Washington High School and went on to attend the highly respected jazz program at William Paterson University, where he studied with Rufus Reid, John Riley, Steve Wilson and Horace Arnold. At this time Blake also began working professionally with the Oliver Lake Big Band, Mingus Big Band, Roy Hargrove and David Sanchez. In 2006 he was recognized with an ASCAP Young Jazz Composers Award, and in 2007 he earned his Masters from Rutgers University, focusing on composition. He studied with the likes of Ralph Bowen, Conrad Herwig and Stanley Cowell.
Deeply aware of Philadelphia's role as a historical nerve center of American music, Blake has immersed himself in the city's storied legacy — not just jazz but also soul, R&B and hip-hop. In many ways he's an heir to Philadelphia drum masters such as Philly Joe Jones, Bobby Durham, Mickey Roker and Edgar Bateman, not to mention younger mentors including Byron Landham, Leon Jordan and Ralph Peterson, Jr. Today Blake is himself an exponent of the Philadelphia sound, described by Aidan Levy of JazzTimes in a review of his debut album, The Eleventh Hour as:
“the vertiginous sensation of being both slightly behind the beat and hurtling into the next measure.”
Approaches like this, one might add, can only be learned by sitting at Mickey Roker's right hand and absorbing exactly how the ride cymbal is struck. Such is the painstaking firsthand exploration that undergirds and informs Blake's musicianship.
Blake's playing helped the Mingus Big Band land Grammy nominations for the albums Tonight at Noon (2002) and I Am Three (2005). It has also earned Blake spots in groups led by Tom Harrell, Ravi Coltrane, Kenny Barron, Pharoah Sanders, Maria Schneider
Orchestra, Russell Malone, Randy Brecker, and other seasoned jazz veterans. As trumpet great Brian Lynch has said:
“Johnathan Blake is without peer among young drummers for the clarity of his beat and the incisiveness of his swing.”
Edmar Castaneda & Ari Hoenig
Edmar Castaneda Harp
Ari Hoenig / Drums
Since arriving in the United States in 1994, Colombian-born harp virtuoso Edmar
Castaneda has forged his own distinctive path in music. He brings not only an unfamiliar
instrument but a wholly original voice to jazz, branching out into a world of different
styles and genres. His wide-ranging career has been remarkable for discovering a brilliant
role for the harp in jazz, then continuing to innovate and spark creativity from a wealth of
formidable collaborations. His latest CD, Live in Montreal, features the latest in an evergrowing
history of thrilling partnerships, an utterly unique duo with the electrifying
Japanese pianist Hiromi.
Live in Montreal follows four acclaimed albums as a leader, as well as collaborations
with the likes of guitarist John Scofield, pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, bassists Marcus
Miller and John Patitucci, bandolinist Hamilton de Holanda, Brazilian pop and jazz great
Ivan Lins, and Castaneda’s mentor, Cuban-born saxophonist Paquito D’Rivera. He’s also
shared stages with iconic artists including Sting, Ricki Lee Jones, The Yellowjackets and
Paco De Lucia. In addition to his innovative approach to the jazz tradition, he’s written
symphonic works for the Orquestra Clássica de Espinho and the São Paulo Jazz
Symphony Orchestra, and chamber pieces for the Israel Camerata Jerusalem and the
Orquestra Sinfónica Nacional de Colombia.
Born in 1978 in the city of Bogotá, Colombia, Castaneda took up the harp as a teenager
to play the folkloric music of his homeland. He discovered jazz shortly after moving to
New York City to join his father in 1994 and was immediately drawn to the freedom and
sophistication of the music. With no real precedent for the harp in the jazz world,
Castaneda studied trumpet by day while trying out his newfound knowledge on the harp
at a restaurant gig by night.
He was ushered into the jazz community by Paquito D’Rivera, who recognized
Castaneda’s passion and took the young harpist under his wing. D’Rivera has called him
“an enormous talent… [Edmar] has the versatility and the enchanting charisma of a
musician who has taken his harp out of the shadow to become one of the most original
musicians from the Big Apple.”
Since then, Castaneda has taken New York and the world stage by storm with the sheer
force of his virtuosic command of the harp, revolutionizing the way audiences and critics
alike consider an instrument commonly relegated to the “unusual category”. He’s been
acclaimed as a master at realizing beautiful complexities of time, while skillfully drawing
out lush colors and dynamic spirit and crafting almost unbelievable feats of crossrhythms,
layered with chordal nuances rivaling the most celebrated flamenco guitarist’s
Castaneda made his debut as a leader in 2007 with Cuartos de Colores, which features
the harpist in a variety of settings, including guest appearances by D’Rivera and the
explosive percussionist Pedrito Martinez. He followed that with 2009’s Entre Cuerdas, a
trio date with trombonist Marshall Gilkes and drummer Dave Silliman that also featured
turns by Scofield, vibraphonist Joe Locke, percussionist Samuel Torres and Colombian
vocalist Andrea Tierra.
Double Portion (2012) was divided into solo and duo pieces, with Castaneda engaging in
scintillating musical conversations with Rubalcaba, de Holanda and saxophonist Miguel
Zénon. Live at the Jazz Standard (2015) showcased Castaneda’s World Ensemble,
uniting musicians from a variety of global traditions. The stellar band brought back
Gilkes, Silliman and Tierra alongside Swiss harmonica master Grégroire Maret; flautist
Itai Kriss and saxophonist Shlomi Cohen (both from Israel); Chilean pianist Pablo
Vergara; Castaneda’s countryman, Colombian drummer Rodrigo Villalon; Turkish kanun
player Tamer Pinarbasi; and Brazilian Sergio Krakowski on pandeiro.
Event Venue & Nearby Stays
DROM, 85 Avenue A, New York, United States