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Saturday, June 12, 2021

Dorothy's Harp - Dorothy Ashby


Dorothy's Harp
Dorothy Ashsby
Produced by Richard Evans
Engineer: Stu Black
Album Design: Randy Harter
Photographs: Jeff Lowenthal
Cadet Records
Stereo LPS-825

From the back cover: Dorothy's Harp is a magical experience, indeed! It shimmers, glimmers and soars! It's funky, baroque and beautiful. Soulful, haunting, melodic. And besides that, it sounds good. An unbelievably versatile instrument, it offers the simple directness of the guitar, the fluidity and grace of the piano, the Old World delicacy and charm of the harpsichord. Not surprising, really, since all of these instruments evolved from the harp.

What is surprising is that, until Dorothy Ashby, the harp has been consistently #1 in Downbeat's Category of "Most Forgotten Miscellaneous Instrument," easily edging such contenders as the theremin and seraphim. Yet, with all the versatility and beauty the harp has offered through the ages, most folks can name only two harpists, and they're remembered for skills other than their harping. David, who played head harp in King Saul's Army Band, achieved his fame first by bonking Goliath in the Super-Philistine, and later by becoming King of the Israelites. What' more, he looked like Gregory Peck. And finally, his harping wasn't that good. Like President Nixon on piano, he played everything in "G"."

Harpo Marx was an incredible harpist who could have done much to popularize the instrument,  but he's remembered primarily for inventing the hydrogen bomb, which he kept in his pocket... next to the telephone, which was invented by Don Ameche. 

So much for history. The fact is the harp has needed a champion for aeons, and  it finally has one in Dorothy Ashby, as one hearing of Dorothy's Harp will reveal.

If you're a professional musician or jazz fan, chances are you're already aware of just how great Dorothy is; if this is your first exposure, you're in for a great treat that'll make you glad to have ears.

Producer Richard Evans' arrangements showcase Dorothy's Harp to perfection and reflect everything that is tasteful and exciting in today's popular music. In addition to the six recent standards, you'll be delighted by two Evan's originals "Tarth Spoken Here" and Toronado" and two Asby originals "Cause I Need It" and "Just Had To Tell Somebody".

The fender piano work of Odell Brown is also first rate, as are the flute and oboe solos by Lennie Druss.

This is the kind of album I'm happy to share with an audience. 

Fitz Peerenboom
WBNS Radio
Columbus, Ohio

By The Time I Get To Phoenix
Canto De Ossanha
Love Is Blue
This Girl's In Love With You
Truth Is Spoken Here
The Windmills Of Your Mind
Cause I Need It
Just Had To Tell Somebody
Fool On The Hill

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