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Brandee Younger shares a modern view of the jazz harp

Harpist Brandee Younger is an artist living in two worlds. Her education was mostly in the classical tradition and she's worked extensively with orchestras, but Younger is a natural improvisor with a love of hip-hop and respect for the jazz harpists who blazed the path for her.

Younger's new album Brand New Life is a tribute to trailblazing harpist and composer Dorothy Ashby, featuring songs from Ashby's albums and some of her unrecorded compositions.

There are original songs, too. The album title also refers to Younger creating music in a brand-new way, interpreting Ashby in her own modern style.

With her trio at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley - bassist Rashaan Carter and drummer Allan Mednard - Younger played an original song, one by Ashby from Brand New Life, and a piece by pianist and harpist Alice Coltrane.

She spoke with KNKX about her album and working with drummer Makaya McCraven, who also acted as producer on Brand New Life. It was also recorded at his home, creating a relaxed place for Younger to make an album she said had been many years in the making.

Younger also talked about the difficulties of finding her own voice on the harp, and how this "hip-hop baby" centers all of her music on a love of a good groove.

The communication between these musicians on the Jazz Alley stage speaks to the jazz tradition, but Younger is making undeniably modern music.


  • Brandee Younger - harp
  • Rashaan Carter - bass
  • Allan Mednard - drums


  1. You're a Girl for One Man Only (Dorothy Ashby)
  2. Unrest (Brandee Younger)
  3. Turiya & Ramakrishna (Alice Coltrane)
Abe grew up in Western Washington, a third generation Seattle/Tacoma kid. It was as a student at Pacific Lutheran University that Abe landed his first job at KNKX, editing and producing audio for news stories. It was a Christmas Day shift no one else wanted that gave Abe his first on-air experience which led to overnights, then Saturday afternoons, and started hosting Evening Jazz in 1998.
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