Dorothy and Friends

When I say ‘black female jazz performer’, who comes to mind? Vocalists galore, sure, maybe even a few piano players, right. So let me introduce you to Dorothy Ashby. Her niche gets even smaller when I tell you she plays harp, no not harmonica, but an actually harp. Jazz harp! When I say ‘jazz instruments’ you probably think of sax first, piano second. But harp!

I ‘discovered’ her while searching for, of all things, cover versions of the theme from Valley of The Dolls. Her’s is on the Afro-Harping lp. At the time I spotted the Classics set for $5.99. So on this mp3 cd I have the  Four Classic Albums Plus -The Jazz Harpist (1957), Hip Harp (1958), In A Minor Groove (1958), Soft Winds (1961), Dorothy Ashby (1962); and Afro-Harping (1968). This is not jazz for purists by any means – better than easy listening or mere instrumental. She plays jazz standards from Satin Doll to Moonlight in Vermont. Worth checking out.

Jon Hassell: Maarifa Street (2005) – another tumblr find – a very mediative, sonically dense, jazzy set by this trumpeter, that is clearly inspired by Miles Davis’ Bitch’s Brew period but is more mellow. Soothing & sweet. The same is true for  vibraphonist Lennie Hibbert’s Creation (1969) – late sixties mystic jazz. 

Even more meditative is a pair of Japanese releases – Kanyko Oganaku: Japanese Ambient Music; and Hiroshi Yoshimura: Music For Nine Postcards. There was a track by Yoshimura on the Ambient album. Soothing & experimental at the same time. Perfect for insomniacs – relaxing without being boring. Some electronic, some gentle piano, bamboo flute & sets nicely with the Dorothy Ashby. An mp3 CD perfect for randomized play.

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees. Thanks 

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