You better get Afro-Harping this frigid weekend

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Whether you plan to cuddle with another warm body or just hang by yourself this incredibly cold weekend, we've got the ideal soundtrack for you right here: Detroit's harp-playing jazzist Dorothy Ashby.


Ashby was the original genius of the harp in jazz , paving the way for the also-Detroit-born Alice Coltrane.


We're particularly enamored with Afro Harping (Cadet, 1968). This relentlessly funky and diverse album is a joy from start to end, but the opening track “Soul Vibrations” begs repeated plays.


We recently found this really intriguing interview Ashby and Cannonball Adderley conducted with each other, from an academic book published by Kent State in 1970.


Ashby passed away in 1986 at 55. Her music has been sampled repeatedly in hip-hop and dance tracks in the years since.

About The Author

Mike McGonigal

Metro Times music editor Mike McGonigal has written about music since 1984, when he started the fanzine Chemical Imbalance at age sixteen with money saved from mowing lawns in Florida. He's since written for Spin, Pitchfork, the Village VOICE and Artforum. He's been a museum guard, a financial reporter, a bicycle...
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