Following a damn fine E.P. of covers – an eclectic range of standards penned by folks from Duke Ellington to Cathy Dennis – Welsh harpist Amanda Whiting releases her long-player, After Dark, on Jazzman. Eleven originals and one remix, with arrangements as sophisticated as those of sometime label mate, Greg Foat. Amanda`s record, mastered to Japanese jazz kissa sound quality, actually makes the perfect partner to Foat`s Dark Is The Sun, which incidentally just got a deluxe 20th anniversary repress.
It would be impossible not to cite Dorothy Ashby`s Afro-Harping as a reference. There’s a classic swing to the set`s syncopation and its contrabass runs. The three, occasionally four, musicians involved make music suitable for an intimate fireside evening for two. Full of a romance that cynics would have you believe was dead. Slow dancing while cymbals crash like waves against breakers, a spiritual tide rising, and brushes race like young hearts. Zing go Amanda`s strings, her virtuoso almost flamenco fingers, in duet with Chip Wickham`s footloose flute. Gently woo-ing one another as drum rolls rush, and then return to calm. In closing DJ / producer, On The Corner`s Door To The Cosmos alumni, Rebecca Vashmant, reworks the title track, adding Nadya Albertsson`s sublime, soulful vocals and scat to its midnight blue ache. Significantly enhancing the already exquisite serenity.
Jazzman will release Amanda Whiting`s After Dark on April 10th.