Dorothy Ashby, the Hip Harpist


Softly ,as in a morning sunrise, her ancient strings are plucked, grasped and manipulated to achieve the sounds of angel wings floating on a heavenly breeze.The Harp, the earliest versions are found around 3500 B.C. and since then they have been strummed across this beautiful world, including the kora from Afrika, the koto in Japan, or China’s guzheng, even Guiness beer has it in their logo.

The harp used to be an instrument for the orchestra pit until two young girls from Detroit , both born in August, decided to pick up this stringed winged bird and fly off to the groove of the Jazz bebop beat. Dorothy Ashby and Alice Coltrane are two of the most famous jazz harpists I could think of that has really changed the course of the harp. I could probably count the number jazz harpists on my hands, and thank goodness with each year that passes another calloused fingertip comes into this obscure fold.

Where Alice Turiyasangitananda Coltrane strummed transcendental spirit fire on her harp, Dorothy Ashby plucked those strings with the cool hip shaking Soul that dug down deep into your bone marrow! I love them both, really, two of my favorite artists!

As with Alice , Dorothy looked out into world music to express her soulful voice. Mrs.Ashby played everything from the piano, the Harp, and the koto. I encourage you to get lost in both of their magnificent albums, you will be pleased nonetheless.

In the meantime, you can groove your socks off to this Dorothy Ashby compilation, which is just the tip of the cool iceberg! If you have heard one of the tunes in a mixtape I’m not sorry for the repeat , just one of her songs can make a mediocre mixtape superb! As you listen to each pluck, strum and mastery of the vibration I leave you cats  to remember, Be hip, Be cool and always be groovy!

From Last Fm                                                                                         

DorothyAshbyMixtape<<<– Lefty Clicky to get yer harpy groove on now or Righty clicky to hear the vibrations later!                                                                                                                                                               

1) Soul Vibrations – AfroHarping                                                                                                   00:01

2) Feeling Good – The Fantastic Jazz Harp of Dorothy Ashby                                                  03:13

3) Myself When Young – The Rubiyat of Dorothy Ashby                                                          08: 18 

4) Truth Spoken Here – Dorothy’s Harp                                                                                       13:33

5) Heaven and Hell – The Rubaiyat of Dorothy Ashby                                                               16:06

6) My Favorite Things – Django/Misty                                                                                         19:12

7) Fool On the Hill -Dorothy’s Harp                                                                                               24:46

8) Anto de Ossanha  – Dorothy’s Harp                                                                                          28:07

9) Nabu Corfa – The Fantastic Jazz Harp Of Dorothy Ashby                                                    31:24

10) The Windmills of Your Mind – Dorothy’s Harp                                                                     35:07

11) Little Sunflower – Afro-Harping                                                                                              38:07

12) Essence Of A Sapphire – The Fantastic Jazz Harp Of Dorothy Ashby                              41:40

13) What Am I Here For – The Fantastic Jazz Harp Of Dorothy Ashby                                 44:48

14) Flighty – The Fantastic Jazz Harp Of Dorothy Ashby                                                         47:04

15) Pawky – In a Minor Groove                                                                                                     50:27

16) Joyful Grass And Grape – The Rubaiyat of Dorothy Ashby                                               57:28

17) The House of the Rising Sun – The Fantastic Jazz Harp Of Dorothy Ashby                 1:01:01

18) The Moving Finger Jazz – The Rubaiyat of Dorothy Ashby                                            1:03:53

19) Theme From Valley Of The Dolls – Afro-Harping                                                            1:09:27

20) This Girl’s in Love With You – Dorothy’s Harp                                                                 1:12:55

21) Dust – The Rubaiyat of Dorothy Ashby                                                                              1:15:28

22) Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise – Django /Misty                                                               1:18:14

About Spacin'jason

I once found myself untangling two separate headphones, listening to one pair and noticing another one on the couch. "This is Crazy", I think I just saw how I was going to die. I have always enjoyed music and color -often at the same time. I was a tuba player, play the djembe, learning the bass and whistle often. I have been making mixes since magnetic tape and a karaoke machines. My sister loved rock ,my brother rocked out to bass and hip hop, i fell in love with Jazz, and my uncle Steve took me to see Steve Miller , following him after the show to his hotel and letting him sign my bootleg Steve shirt. "Its ok man, you can keep your shirt on".

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