February 6, 2020
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Today we’re listening to Dorothy Ashby, an American harpist active in the mid-20th century. Ashby grew up in Detroit and started out playing jazz piano. By age 20, she’d adopted the harp as her primary instrument, at a time when the harp was squarely a classical instrument to jazz fans. She proved the harp could lead bands beautifully on albums such as Afro-Harping and The Fantastic Jazz Harp. And not just in jazz: soul and funk too. On The Rubaiyat of Dorothy Ashby, she plays another unfamiliar instrument: the Japanese koto. (This album appears to only be available on YouTube.) Ashby remains an overlooked talent in the history of American jazz.
The Rubaiyat of Dorothy Ashby (40m, 🗣 a bunch of vocals) YouTube
Have a great Thursday.