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Brandee Younger’s graceful, gentle harp enhances and entices listeners into an appreciation of modern jazz music. She and her trio perform with the Hudson Jazz Festival on Nov. 14. Photo by Erin Patrice O’Brien​

The Harp as a Portal to Complex Jazz


On Nov. 4, the Hudson Jazz Festival decided to postpone its online concerts until the spring of 2021.

The harp isn’t an instrument you normally associate with improvisational jazz, free jazz, avant garde jazz, bebop or … well, you get the idea. 

But when harpist Brandee Younger plays alongside the sharper, harder edges of the traditional jazz saxophone, it makes it more accessible to someone like me, for instance, who often finds jazz a little acoustically forbidding. 

You can hear it for yourself in a new Spotify playlist featuring Younger and other performers associated with this year’s Hudson Jazz Festival. Better still,  you can now get tickets for virtual performances at the Hudson, N.Y., venue that will continue through December.

This year’s festival celebrates the music and partnership of saxophonist/composer/legend John Coltrane and his wife, Alice, a jazz pianist/harpist and the love of Coltrane’s life. 

The Brandee Younger Trio kicks off the concert series on Saturday, Nov. 14, at 7 p.m. Tickets to the virtual concert are $20.

One week later, on Nov. 21 at 7 p.m., it’s the Marcus Strickland Quartet, followed by the Orrin Evans Trio on the Saturday after Thanksgiving (Nov. 28); the J.D. Allen Trio on Friday, Dec. 4, at 7 p.m.; and ending with Camille Thurman and the Darrell Green Trio. 

There is a related art and music show curated by Reginald Madison that explores making music at home during the quarantine. The artists included in the show are David Hammons, Bijan Mahmoodi, Marlene Marshall, Kris Perry, Richard Sandler, Tschabalala Self and Kianja Strobert. Visits are by reservation only. 

Learn more about the concerts and art show at www.hudsonhall.org; discount pricing is available if you buy multiple tickets or a package. 

To get a sneak peek, look for the Spotify playlist called Hudson Jazz Festival: Special Edition. You can hear Brandee Younger playing with award-winning jazz saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, the son of John and Alice. To find Spotify, search it online or go to the app store on your phone. 

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