The Dreamy Jazz Debut of Pacific Harp Project

Oct 27, 2016

Credit Pacific Harp Project
Credit Pacific Harp Project

A local group is attempting a new way to bridge the gap between the classical and the modern.  Pacific Harp Project combines the traditional repertoire of the harp with the improvisational nature of jazz.

It seems simple… but throughout history… a successful fusion of harp and jazz has only been done a handful of times.  In the 60’s, Alice Coltrane and Dorothy Ashby broke the mold with a distinct brand of psychedelic jazz fusion.

Part of the difficulty comes from the design of the modern harp which itself has come a long way… but still lacks the ability to improvise.  Harpist Megan Bledsoe-Ward breaks down why.

Bledsoe-Ward says the difficulty fell on the other members of the band who constructed the sound around the music.

The result is a dreamy, new take on classical pieces by composers like Ravel, Debussy and Liszt.  And while it is jazz… it’s a version that hasn’t been heard in a long time. 

Pacific Harp Project makes their debut at the Blue Note Hawai‘i on October 31st.