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You wouldn’t think there’d be a “typical” way of playing the harp, of all things, in jazz music. But most of the half-dozen or so jazz harpists who’ve tackled the tradition work mainly in short, jabby chords, with clipped melodic phrases over top—as close to guitar technique as possible. These rules are important to know because Brandee Younger does not follow them. A classical harpist until college, Younger prefers the luxuriant glisses and lingering tones that are more common for the orchestral harp. That’s especially remarkable considering how much of her career has been spent freelancing as a studio harpist for hip-hop records (her credits include Common and Drake), where the rhythmic approach would be an even more obvious choice. Younger, then, is that much bolder; she not only plays an instrument with few jazz predecessors, she’s also determined to distinguish herself from them.
Brandee Younger performs May 31 to June 1 at Bohemian Caverns. $18.