Jazz Packs: Harpist Brandee Younger’s Dorothy Ashby Tribute

A tribute to one of the greatest soul-jazz musicians of all-time. #ListenToMoreDorothyAshby
By    July 6, 2015

Chris Daly has windmills in his mind.

Nobody would blame you if your knowledge of harpists was limited to a Marx Brother and possibly Joanna Newsom. It’s not an instrument that gets a lot of hood love, as it’s not really the kind of instrument that invites spontaneous breakdancing on street corners. As Garrison Keillor pointed out, being a harpist is “like living with an elderly parent in poor health—it’s hard to get them in and out of cars, impossible to satisfy them. A harp takes fourteen hours to tune and remains in tune for twenty minutes or until someone opens a door. It’s an instrument for a saint.”

One saint you need to add to your musical library immediately is Dorothy Ashby. As you continue your quest to #ListenToMoreJazz, Ms. Ashby is an often overlooked great that took her instrument and demonstrated just how deeply it could groove. In addition to 11 albums of her own spanning nearly 30 years, she also played on tracks with everyone from Stevie Wonder to Bill Withers.

Brandee Younger, a harpist herself, shows her love and respect for the great on “Dorothy Jeanne,” the first single from the upcoming Supreme Sonacy Vol. 1, a compilation due on August 7 from Blue Note/REVIVE. Maintaining the close knit vibe of the jazz community, the track was produced by the Robert Glasper Experiment’s crazily coiffed Casey Benjamin, because if the recent successes of Kamasi Washington and Thundercat have taught us one thing, it’s that jazz cats run in packs.

“Dorothy Jeanne” is a lush jam, with Younger playing beautifully off of her partners-in-crime, with Chelsea Baratz blowing tenor sax, Dezron Douglas slappin’ da bass, and Dana Hawkins smacking skins. Now off with you. Go #ListenToMoreJazz.

We rely on your support to keep POW alive. Please take a second to donate on Patreon!