Saturday, August 12, 2017

Dorothy Ashby - 1958 - Hip Harp

Dorothy Ashby 
Hip Harp

01. Pawky
02. Moonlight In Vermont
03. Back Talk
04. Dancing In The Dark
05. Charmaine
06. Jollity
07. There's A Small Hotel

Bass – Herman Wright
Drums – Art Taylor
Flute – Frank Wess
Harp – Dorothy Ashby

Recorded New York City on March 26, 1958

I wasn't sure what to make of this conceptually, can a harp really be hip?  Well I wouldn't go so far as to say it's hip, but it's better than anticipated.  The music is instrumental, and very jazzy and easy enough to listen to and the harp blends in seamlessly.  There are only seven songs on this album but most of them sounded somewhat familiar, like I'd heard them elsewhere before.  It does have a bit of a surprising kick to the music which likely is where the "hip" comes in as some stuff is done here that is rather unexpected but at the same time it never crosses the line to become experimental or anything like that.  It's clear Dorothy has some mad harp skills as she's played the harp on some of the most famous albums you can think of and well it's obvious here too how extremely skilled she is.  Thing is no matter how much you make a harp sound hip, there are very rare occasions where I'll ever be in the mood for such a thing.  If you are looking for mood music for a gathering or something relaxing then this is pretty darned perfect, but it's a little too dull for me to hear more than a handful of times.  It's still neat that this exists and well it's good that harp and jazz had a meeting right?