by Willard Manus
If quiet, introspective jazz is your thing, jazz harpist Carol Robbins is the musician for you. Robbins, normally a member of Billy Childs' Jazz Chamber Ensemble, turns things around on her latest CD, MORAGA. With Childs backing her on piano, she leads a
sextet that can boast of Larry Koonse on guitar and Gary Meek on soprano sax/clarinet. These stalwarts work well together and give life to five original compositions of hers, plus standards by Cole Porter, Antonio Jobim and Nino Rota.
Robbins stays in a mellow, pensive mood most of the time, going uptempo only twice (The Sand Rover and Straight Away). Not that it matters how fast she plays, so exquisite and heartfelt is her interpretive work. With her delicate probings alternating with sudden, breath-taking bursts of arpeggios and glissandos, she puts on a jazz harp clinic, proving once and for all how unique and indispensable is her instrument of choice.