Review

Amanda Whiting

The Liminality Of Her

First Word • 2024

There is probably no musical genre where the harp is not considered exotic. In recent years, however, musicians such as Joanna Newsom (indie folk) and Brandee Younger (jazz) have brought unexpected attention to the stringed instrument. Amanda Whiting is Welsh-born like the artists mentioned above, and enjoyed classical training of the harp but turned to jazz at an early age. When the words »harp« and »jazz« meet, the association machine automatically kicks in: for example, Dorothy Ashby and Alice Coltrane as the founding mothers of jazz harpists in the 1950s and 1960s. Yes, but Amanda Whiting is going her own way, especially on her fourth album, »The Liminality Of Her«.

Whiting’s melodic playing is supported by the colourful sounds of bass, drums, flute and vocals, removing the harp’s perceived exoticism as an impressionistic sound gimmick. On »The Liminality Of Her«, Amanda Whiting takes various jazz traditions and turns them into airy chamber music. There are bits and pieces of bossa nova, fusion-like structures, echoes of spiritual jazz, impressionistic pieces like »Alchemy«, which defies categorisation, and the lyrical »Waiting To Go«, on which harp and double bass spar amicably.