"By the time she entered Ter-Mar Studios to record her third and final album for Cadet in late 1969, Dorothy Ashby had spent the better part of two decades convincing the world that she was a jazz harpist. But if 'The Rubáiyát of Dorothy Ashby' makes anything clear, it is this: The harp was but one of her many means, and jazz was far from her only end. Making good on the promise of 'Rubáiyát’s' cover, here the fantastic jazz harpist just as often— just as convincingly—presides over the koto, a 13-stringed zither of arguable Japanese origin, to lay down her slinky solos. At times it feels as if Ashby, so long an outsider herself, is pulling the misfits of the bandstand up for their own overdue time to shine: On what other jazz record—or any slice of wax, for that matter—does a soloing harp tag out to a bass flute, in turn to a vibraphone? A koto to an oboe? Where else does the kalimba, here drenched in watery wah-wah, outnumber saxophone solo outings three-to-one? But the medium is not the message, and 'The Rubáiyát of Dorothy Ashby' would be exquisite fluff if not for its sweat-breaking interplay, ground upon which all instruments, all players share equal footing to pluck, plink, and honk."