The harp… There is something brash and defiant even just about the way it looks. It belies its amazing range of musical possibilities and surprises every time it is played.
The first image is the angelic one. You know the pictures: full rows of winged ones playing in the clouds. They got one thing right — the sky is the limit for the instrument. The strong arch, the supporting pillar, the bridge and the soundbox, and the rows of sinewy strings. All components of strength and stability.
Brandee Younger matches the strength and the defiance of the instrument. She brings a courage and artistic reach, finding the many corners and colours of the harp’s range of sounds. Younger imbues it with soul and a richness of layered textures, and she makes it speak and sing.
There is a liberty in her artistry, a freedom to play through the artificial walls of genre and give her jazz a welcome uniqueness, following the grand avenues and pathways of the many great female jazz harpists before her: Dorothy Ashby, Alice Coltrane, Adele Girard and others. All were gentle tamers and freers of the arched and proud standing, many-stringed giant. And Brandee Younger herself is also a gentle, defiant, courageous tamer and freer of the proud standing, many stringed, giant.