Jazz: Dorothy Ashby

Dorothy Ashby

Photograph © Copyright unknown.

Just found: Three pieces1 recorded by jazz harpist Dorothy Ashby. Those are excerpts from her 1958 album “In A Minor Groove”.

Related post:

Dorothy Ashby – In a Minor Groove 1958. Quote: “This is a delightful package that deserves further recognition as a project unique to jazz and modern music, perfectly showcasing Dorothy Ashby as an individualist for the ages.” — Michael G. Nastos

1 “It’s A Minor Thing”, “Rascallity”, and “You’d Be So Nice To Come Home”.

A bit more about myself

At first glance, this blog seems to be just another web site where the owner is trying to make a few bucks.

Actually, it’s not that simple.

To explain this further, I would love to have an app available that would be able to trace my history on the Internet since late 1996. That’s when I basically started doing computer graphics & getting acquainted with the Internet. (I already did some bitmap editing about two years prior to that; this was in some sort of public library, the computer being a Mac, and the bitmap editor the then available version of Photoshop; I guess it must have been version 3.0.) I still have the files stored on a floppy disk; unfortunately I cannot access them because a) I don’t own a Mac (I’m using a PC with Ubuntu Linux), and b) new Mac’s don’t have a built-in floppy drive anymore.

Anyway, here’s a photograph of a print I made right then on an Apple inkjet printer, to give an impression of what I came up with at that time:

experimental graphic

© Copyright 1996 by Claus Cyrny.

This was basically just me following my intuition and playing with the options available in Photoshop, and after all those years, I’m still amazed by the quality of the things I did then. Because drawing and painting is quite natural to me (I have been drawing since kindergarten), it wasn’t that difficult. During my teens, I used to sit at my desk for hours, drawing stuff like (more or less futuristic) houses, spaceships, spacesuits, futuristic weapons (I was heavily into sci-fi at that time), and more along that line.

All of this changed when I entered high school (or the German equivalent, respectively, called “Gymnasium”, albeit this is something entirely different than the English “gymnasium”). For no obvious reason, I stopped drawing altogether (except when we had to draw something in school, especially for biology). In hindsight, I realize that part of the reason that I became fed up with arts for a number of years was the fact that, in middle school, I was confronted with a completely mechanical attitude towards art, which created a severe block in me, especially towards painting with watercolors. I recall that we frequently had to paint watercolors of the respective season (autumn leaves, snow, etc.). This pretty lifeless attitude towards art, in addition to the fact that the teachers basically didn’t care about the abilities of the pupils at all, and—very obviously—didn’t seem to have any specific training in teaching art in the first place, resulted in art being one of my least favorite classes, and the block which I developed kept me from drawing or painting for almost seven years. It is interesting, though, how I was finally able to overcome it.

Since I lived in the southwest of Germany then (where I still live right now), I used listened to a certain German station on the radio that had a surprisingly good pop/rock program at the time (early 1970s), and, after a while, I discovered the jazz program of this station. This finally (I had meanwhile gotten my own record player) resulted in my buying my first jazz records in 1978, which were: “Alexander the Great” by Monty Alexander, the Carnegie Hall concerts by both Benny Goodman (1938) and the Dave Brubeck Quartet (1963), and— surprisingly advanced for someone new to jazz—an amazing live recording by the John Coltrane Quintet, featuring Eric Dolphy on alto saxophone and flute.

After having moved away from home (this is a different story altogether), I kept buying jazz records, although at that time my focus was still on pop and rock. Finally (this was sometime in January, 1980) said jazz station played a very unique Miles Davis tune entitled “Circle in the Round”, and after having listend to it (it opccupies an entire side of the double album of the same name), my mood had changed so completely that I suddenly felt the desire to draw something—thus, without being aware of it at that time, my block was removed.