Dorothy Ashby – The Fantastic Jazz Harp Of Dorothy Ashby

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This is the sixth album by Dorothy Ashby, a Detroit born jazz harpist who passed away in her early 50s in 1986 way before her time. She left us a rich legacy of music with this 1965 release being one of her milestones. The music is pure bright and swinging with a joyful mood. Dorothy Ashby performs her lines big time with her harp and captures your soul with the melodies she picks from its strings. She is always there upfront while the brass section mostly fills the background with colour if there is not a short solo part for the trumpet. Typical for the ancient jazz there are no vocals to be heard on this record but this only adds to the depth and intriguing atmosphere of the music. She starts where Coltrane has left the field of real song oriented albums for his experimental efforts and really pulls it off. I can only describe this record as haunting with a rather relaxed approach. Dorothy Ashby and her band know fairly well how to perform and they do it with passion despite reaching a level of perfect playing not many did before. For the time it was released this has been an utterly progressive effort and the pop sensibility of many tracks here make it a great joy to spin and dive into. Jazz fans will dig it and open minded people who love the music of the 60s will also develop a fondness for this beauty.