Album Title: My foolish harp
Performers: Isabelle Olivier (harp), David Ventitucci (accordion), Youn Sun Nah (vocals), Louis Sclavis (bass clarinet), Peter Erskine (drums)
Label: Enja
Playing time: 47'35"
Recorded: France - 2009.


This album is a superb achievement focusing on an instrument which Jazz is not really that familiar with. Isabelle Olivier's harp plays beautifully throughout this fifth album released in 2009 for Enja/Harmonia Mundi. As artistic director of the M├ętamorphose Arts company, Isabelle Olivier keeps exploring the harp in a new fashion offering a unique blend of jazz, classical, contemporary as well as traditional music. Her bold approach is characterized by permanent risk-taking and a strong desire to collaborate with musicians and artists from various backgrounds like theater, dance, circus etc.


My Foolish Harp brings together famous artists of the European jazz sphere - Peter Erskine on drums, Louis Sclavis on bass clarinet, David Ventitucci on accordion and vocalist Youn Sun Nah. Each side(wo)man brings their own contribution and sensitivity to a poetic journey of various duets. Every musician writes for the group and breathes his own poetry into the project. Each track here highlights a quite unexpected face of the instruments involved and the alchemy which results goes beyond jazz stereotypes to true stories told by the harp.


Peter Erskine performs a definitely great duet on "Mister" (harp/drums) which coaxes from Isabelle Olivier a very subtle game indeed. The harp here is both discrete and present, percussive, harmonic, melodic and heavenly. A particular alchemy emerges from the encounter with Louis Sclavis with an atmosphere that is at the same time tense and serene. "Echo" and "Storia" give a stunning representation of the depth of the bass clarinet seeking the embrace of the harp of the leading artist.


Even if common sense is reduced quite conveniently in a rain of arpeggios and romantic glissandi, Isabelle Olivier demonstrates in this latest outing that the harp can do almost anything. She deliberately chose to focus on contrasts, alternating notes with silences, harmonies with dissonances, purity with artefacts. My Foolish Harp is a record of encounters and discoveries with other stars of jazz and improvisation in the form of multiple duets. It's also a strong buy recommendation for an unusual jazz album that's been already released in Europe and should come soon to the Americas.