Best of 2016 #26: Brandee Younger – “Wax & Wane” (Self-Produced)


It’s not an everyday occurrence to encounter harp in a jazz setting.  It’s pretty damn infrequent, actually.  So, aside from being an incredibly strong album reflecting a seriously creative perspective, what’s most impressive about Wax & Wane is how much this very different sound connects like everyday people music.  Brandee Younger locks in with the lineage of jazz harp by including compositions by bop-era harpist Dorothy Ashby and spiritual jazz harpist Alice Coltrane.  And she connects with the modern day scene with an electro-acoustic sound where melody and groove hold hands every step of the way.  The echoes of the past bounce off the walls of Wax & Wane, but always in the context of music that breathes the air of today.  It just can’t be overstated how much respect Younger earns for overcoming the difficulty for a harpist to find her place on the modern jazz scene while simultaneously carving out of a piece of it that only she occupies, just Younger, her harp and her unique sound.

Jazz from NYC.

Read more about the album on Bird is the Worm (LINK).