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Musician

Dorothy Ashby

Born:

Born Dorothy Jeanne Thompson, she grew up around music in Detroit where her father, guitarist Wiley Thompson, often brought home fellow jazz musicians. Even as a young girl, Dorothy would provide support and background to their music by playing the piano. She attended Cass Technical High School where fellow students included such future musical talents and jazz greats as Donald Byrd, Gerald Wilson, and Kenny Burrell.

While in high school she played a number of instruments (including the saxophone and string bass) before coming upon the harp. She attended Wayne State University in Detroit where she studied piano and music education. After she graduated, she began playing the piano in the jazz scene in Detroit, though by 1952 she had made the harp her main instrument. At first her fellow jazz musicians were resistant to the idea of adding the harp, which they perceived as an instrument of classical music and also somewhat ethereal in sound, into jazz performances. So Ashby overcame their initial resistance and built up support for the harp as a jazz instrument by organizing free shows and playing at dances and weddings with her trio. She recorded with Richard Davis, Jimmy Cobb, Frank Wess and others in the late 1950s and early 1960s. During the 1960s, she also had her own radio show in Detroit. Ashby's trio, including her husband John Ashby on drums, regularly toured the country, recording albums for several different record labels. She played with Louis Armstrong and Woody Herman, among others.

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Article: Radio & Podcasts

Music Is The Magic - Birthday Celebrations for Dorothy Ashby, Abbey Lincoln, Louis Armstrong And More

Read "Music Is The Magic - Birthday Celebrations for Dorothy Ashby, Abbey Lincoln, Louis Armstrong And More" reviewed by Mary Foster Conklin


This broadcast presents new releases from Mike Clark & Leon Lee Dorsey, vocalist Lauren Henderson and saxophonist Jessy J, with birthday shoutouts to jazz greats Dorothy Ashby, Tony Bennett, Louis Armstrong, Terri Lyne Carrington, and Abbey Lincoln among others, plus a celebration of Joni Mitchell's remarkable performance at the Newport Folk Festival. Thanks for listening and ...

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Article: Album Review

Amanda Whiting: Lost In Abstraction

Read "Lost In Abstraction" reviewed by Peter Jones


The revival in the fortunes of the harp has been one of the more unexpected developments in jazz: Brandee Younger's 2021 album Somewhere Different made an impact on both sides of the Atlantic. In the UK, the instrument has been finding favor in the hands of both Tara Minton and Alina Bzhezhinska. Now Wales' very own ...

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Article: Album Review

Amanda Whiting: Lost In Abstraction

Read "Lost In Abstraction" reviewed by Gareth Thompson


Ahh, the angelic harp, a symbol of celestial beings, Biblical healing, Irish identity and a rubbish lager. In jazz terms we think of the instrument in relation to Casper Reardon, Dorothy Ashby, Alice Coltrane and more recently Deborah Henson-Conant. A noble list of names if not exactly boundless. The harp is, after all, much less portable ...

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Article: Album Review

Tara Minton & Ed Babar: Two For The Road

Read "Two For The Road" reviewed by Hrayr Attarian


Australian vocalist and harpist Tara Minton and English bassist Ed Babar have been performing together for a few years, as part of the jazz ensemble Harp's Bazaar. Babar also appeared on Minton's engaging Please Do Not Ignore The Mermaid (Lateralize Records, 2020). This camaraderie is apparent on their first duo release, the aptly titled, Two For ...

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Article: Radio & Podcasts

Close Your Eyes: Celebrating Bernice Petkere, The Queen of Tin Pan Alley

Read "Close Your Eyes: Celebrating Bernice Petkere, The Queen of Tin Pan Alley" reviewed by Mary Foster Conklin


This broadcast begins with a celebration of composer Bernice Petkere ("Close Your Eyes," Lullaby of the Leaves") along with new releases from pianist Haeun Joo and bassist Adi Meyerson. Other birthday shoutouts include Jeri Southern, Terri Lyne Carrington, Roberta Piket, Noa Fort, Tony Bennett, Meg Okura and Cyrille Aimee, among others. Thanks for listening and please ...

Article: Radio & Podcasts

New Releases With Birthday Shoutouts to Regina Carter, Dorothy Ashby, Abbey Lincoln and More

Read "New Releases With Birthday Shoutouts to Regina Carter, Dorothy Ashby, Abbey Lincoln and More" reviewed by Mary Foster Conklin


This broadcast presents new releases from marimbaist Jenny Klukken, Kevin Hays, Ben Street & Billy Hart, bassist Ilana Lipsztein, Cory Weeds Nightcrawlers and saxophonist Dennis Mitcheltree with birthday shoutouts to Regina Carter, Dorothy Ashby, Abbey Lincoln, KJ Denhert, Kat Edmonson and Kat Gang, among others. Thanks for listening and please support the artists you hear by ...

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Article: Album Review

Brandee Younger: Somewhere Different

Read "Somewhere Different" reviewed by Angelo Leonardi


Da un decennio Brandee Younger è il nuovo volto dell'arpa nel jazz ma solo da poco ottiene i pieni riconoscimenti del suo valore: nel 2020 vince il referendum della critica di Down Beat nella categoria emergenti per “Strumenti Vari" e nel recentissimo Critics Poll 2021 è votata al secondo posto in quella principale, dopo la violoncellista ...

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Article: Building a Jazz Library

Unconventional Instruments

Read "Unconventional Instruments" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


ECM regularly tops lists of the best jazz labels though their full name--Edition of Contemporary Music--would argue for a broader scope of content. A substantial number of their most popular albums, such as Carla Bley's Escalator Over The Hill (1974), Egberto Gismonti: Dança Dos Escravos (1989), Nils Petter Molvær's Khmer (1997), and many more, are not ...

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Article: Radio & Podcasts

A Pride of Jazz Leos - Louis Armstrong, Abbey Lincoln, Dorothy Ashby & More

Read "A Pride of Jazz Leos - Louis Armstrong, Abbey Lincoln, Dorothy Ashby & More" reviewed by Mary Foster Conklin


Lots of Jazz Leos to celebrate on today's broadcast. Included are new releases from Beth Duncan, Regina Carter, Ken Steele plus a special pandemic single from Lauren Lee, with birthday shoutouts to Abbey Lincoln, Louis Armstrong, KJ Denhert, Hendrik Meurkens, Kat Gang, Dorothy Ashby, Kat Edmonson, Roberta Piket, Terri Lyne Carrington and more. Thanks for listening ...


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