Hey Jerusha —
In regards to playing jazz on a lever harp, I’ve found it most fun to start with Blues. I tune my harp in Ab, then mostly play blues in F and Bb. I recently learned to play Rhythm Changes (basically, “I Got Rhythm”) on a lever harp after many years of trying, that was a long-time goal — now I just have to get comfortable with it. A couple other tips are: Summertime (basically a minor blues), Take Five (but you have to sing the melody). I noticed in another post that you noted I don’t really consider myself a jazz player any more (very true, and glad to hear people are noticing that — many folks still call me a jazz-harpist and it’s just not true anymore!). I’ve also totally fallen in love with the lever harp. Anyway, I’m starting to try to merge the two a little more (jazz forms and harmonies with the lever harp), moving out from Blues and Flamenco — so hopefully in the next couple years I’ll have some more tips on how to get some better — uh – leverage — on jazz tunes.
Meanwhile — to check out some blues levering, my show “Invention & Alchemy” is on a lot of PBS stations and I think there might be a cut of “Way You Are Blues” on YouTube.
Hey — have a great time — it’s a wonderful challenge to merge lever harp and jazz!