The harp makes one of its rare appearances in jazz in the hands of Carol Robbins on Jazz Play. She also wrote several of the tunes on this recording and included some standards. And where does that place the music? Right in the mainstream, with some softer shades of what is known as contemporary jazz. The introduction of the latter causes no damage; the soothing waft it brings in is pleasant enough, without detracting from the core.
One of the tunes which gets this treatment is "The Meaning of the Blues. Robbins shades it in pastel colours, while guitariwst Larry Koonse adds to the ambit, picking notes that fall softly and gently, the whole lifted by a percussive bed. The mood is upbeat on "Buddy's Bite, with Steve Huffsteter chomping down on the tenor sax and etching a deep line. Koonse once more shows a sense of harmonics which gives a song a beckoning dynamic, with Robbins adding a lilting Latin melody. While this swings nicely, "Darcy's Waltz comes in on the one-two-three with Bob Sheppard on the tenor saxophone opening the melody delectably and laying the path for Robbins to add her own beguiling imagination, making this one of the better tunes on the set.
Jazz Play is just right for a relaxed evening.
Buddy's Bite; O Grande Amour; Still Light; The Meaning of the Blues; Darcy's Waltz; Tangier; Emilia; Don't Look Back; The Cribbler; Skating in Central Park; Sollevare; I'm Old Fashioned; Sambolero.
Carol Robbins: harp; Larry Koonse: guitar; Bob Shappard: soprano and tenor saxophones; Steve Hufstetter: trumpet and flugal horn; Derek Oles: bass; Tim Pleasant: drums.
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!
Get more of a good thing
Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.