D o r o t h y A s h b y
Dorothy Ashby was an American jazz harpist and composer. Ashby established the harp as an improvising jazz instrument, beyond earlier use as a novelty or background orchestral instrument, showing the harp could play bebop as adeptly as a saxophone. Her albums were of the jazz genre, but often moved into R&B, world music and other styles, especially on her 1970 album The Rubaiyat of Dorothy Ashby, where she demonstrates her talents on another instrument, the Japanese koto, successfully integrating it into jazz.
She attended Wayne State University in Detroit, where she studied piano and music education. After she graduated, she began playing the piano in the jazz scene in Detroit, though by 1952 she had made the harp her main instrument. At first her fellow jazz musicians were resistant to the idea of adding the harp, which they perceived as an instrument of classical music and somewhat ethereal in sound in jazz performances. So Ashby overcame their initial resistance and built support for the harp as a jazz instrument by organizing free shows and playing at dances and weddings with her trio.