Harpist brings unique sound to Cafe Jazz

Jazz harpist Amanda Whiting will be performing with fellow musicians Ashley John Long, Julian Tucker and Jon Reynolds

Amanda Whiting playing the harp (courtesy of Amanda Whiting)

Cafe Jazz is hosting a night with accomplished jazz harpist Amanda Whiting on November 23, 2017.

The event is set to begin at 9 pm and will see Amanda perform alongside local bassist Ashley John Long, multi-instrumentalist Julian Tucker, and drummer and percussionist John Reynolds.

Music by well-known jazz harpists Dorothy Ashby and Alice Coltrane will be played, along with two of Amanda’s own compositions.

With arrangements and standards of Swing and Latin grooves, event goers can expect to enjoy a night of jazz with a unique sound, drawing from Amanda’s own tastes and inspirations.

“I’ve chosen music which I love and I have enjoyed putting the set together,” Amanda said.

Cafe Jazz on St Mary Street

Amanda has been playing jazz harp for 10 of her 35 years as a harpist and grew up playing the classical harp before being drawn to jazz.

“I grew up playing classical harp, but always struggled with the rigidity and being tied to the copy,” Amanda explains, “I always levitated to rich harmonies of the impressionist composers like Debussy and Ravel and the washes of sound and textures.”

Amanda said that she always found her foot tapping to jazz. Harry Connick Junior, Jamie Cullum, Bebel Gilberto and Ella and Louis always had a place in her CD player, and from there she found herself trying to play in the style of jazz.

“It wasn’t until I decided to pursue actually “playing” jazz and not just “in the style” of it that I realised how addictive it was,” Amanda explained, before continuing, “my first “Jazz” performance was supporting Jamie Cullum in Celtic Manor – nothing like being thrown in at the deep end! It was the start of a new life in music.”

Cafe Jazz is a venue that prides itself on hosting the best local and international sounds of jazz, both old and new. As a local resident, Amanda describes it as an important venue for Jazz in Cardiff with an “intimate feel”.

When it comes to Jazz, the passionate harpist said what she loves most about the genre is the harmonies, rhythm and diversity of the music, as well as the freedom it gives you as a musician and as a listener.

If you’re interested in attending, admission costs £6 with £5 for concessions.