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Eric Dolphy

OutToLunch!

New Member
Messages
23
To me one of the greatest (if not the greatest) the improviser that ever was. His playing is completely unparalleled; there never was and will never be another like him. His music gets me real deep, easily one of my favorite musicians, the master of alto sax, bass clarinet, and flute. He is definitely not for everyone (Miles certainly didn't like his playing), and he's much less known as others like Coltrane or Ornette (though the stuff he did with Coltrane is really something special).

I could recommend everything he has ever recorded, but I am just a Dolphy fanatic, so for those who are unfamiliar I'd suggest picking up Outward Bound and Out To Lunch! first; his first and last dates as leader. For a killer show with Coltrane get the Complete 1961 Copenhagen Concert, which has the only appearance of "Delilah" in either of the horn players' discographies. Conversations and Iron Man are two great albums taken from the same session that I think are good introductions to his music as well.

Here's a great Dolphy site if anyone is interested: http://adale.org/Eric.html
 

Chris

Well Known
Subscriber
Messages
3,821
Any one wanting a free listen should check out Eric Dophy on Groove Shark, they have a lot of tracks to get you started..

Chris
 

baritonesax

Member
Messages
256
Dolphy was a very remarkable musician, and I like his stuff a good deal, but I couldn't listen to him non-stop. I think of his music more as palate-cleansing sorbets, rather than courses in their own right. His sax playing isn't as appealing as his flute, or bass clarinet playing. Cool guy though - and definitely not a licks player!
 

funkymonk

Member
Messages
88
Thanks for the info! I've never properly listened to him (except for the odd youtube video). Last night, after reading your post, I had a listen to out to lunch... I loved it. I'm not a great fan of alto, but man, that cat can blow! (footnote: I would never say that, I could never get away with such expressions) I especially liked the bass clarinet, it sounds so woody and earthy! Thus today I went on a mission to buy the album. Found, bought, listened, happy.

Once again thank you!
 

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
Messages
4,622
just discovered him myself.... love his stuff, again agree his flute and bass clarinet seem to upstage his alto....
 

OutToLunch!

New Member
Messages
23
Thanks for the info! I've never properly listened to him (except for the odd youtube video). Last night, after reading your post, I had a listen to out to lunch... I loved it. I'm not a great fan of alto, but man, that cat can blow! (footnote: I would never say that, I could never get away with such expressions) I especially liked the bass clarinet, it sounds so woody and earthy! Thus today I went on a mission to buy the album. Found, bought, listened, happy.

Once again thank you!
Glad I could get someone into Dolphy! You'll love exploring his catalog, quite extensive considering his tragic death at 36 from doctors in Germany assuming his diabetic coma to be a heroin-induced coma (since all jazz musicians are obviously drug addicts). What makes it even more tragic is that he never touched any drugs or alcohol in his life, just constantly had some kind of wind instrument in his hands, practicing. Imagine the music he'd have made had he lived, he was not even at his peak with Out To Lunch!.

I find it interesting perusing this site how many people aren't in the sound of the alto at all. I suppose I can see why, but I love it. Dolphy, Ornette, Jackie McLean, Cannonball, Bird... I just saw Sonny Fortune with Jimmy Cobb, Buster Williams, and Mike Stern at Yoshi's Jazz Club in Oakland doing a "4 Generations Of Miles" last Friday and Sonny's alto just blew me away. The last number they did was this insanely-fast, ridiculous "Straight, No Chaser" that Sonny literally just burned through, it was pretty amazing.
 

baritonesax

Member
Messages
256
I find it interesting perusing this site how many people aren't in the sound of the alto at all. I suppose I can see why, but I love it. Dolphy, Ornette, Jackie McLean, Cannonball, Bird... I just saw Sonny Fortune with Jimmy Cobb, Buster Williams, and Mike Stern at Yoshi's Jazz Club in Oakland doing a "4 Generations Of Miles" last Friday and Sonny's alto just blew me away. The last number they did was this insanely-fast, ridiculous "Straight, No Chaser" that Sonny literally just burned through, it was pretty amazing.
There's a lot of nonsense talked about the alto all over. I went for years not playing alto, and not missing it much either, but there came a point last year when I decided that I was getting really tired of listening to the tenor as much you more or less have to if you listen to modern jazz. I looove tenor (so nobody start on that) but it is the most clichéd sax sound in jazz and a change is always good. I also discovered that I'm a more interesting alto player than I used to be years ago (by my own, low standards) so I'm really into it again, along with soprano. Must play my bari more...

I saw Sonny Fortune play at Ronnie Scotts about 20 years ago with Elvin Jones. Strangely, he was playing tenor that night alongside a great British tenorista, Alan Skidmore. Unbelievable playing from them both with Elvin whipping them along.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
I'm really having to force myself to play the alto. Sounds too duck like. But it's getting a lot better as I experiment. But I miss the richness of the tenor.... I think I've got a lot to learn to get a good sound out of it. Thanks BS, will help keep me working at it!
 

KenW

New Member
Messages
15
I also think Eric Dolphy was one of the most amazing musicians ever - I've just acquired a fabulous system 54 alto saxophone and I think I'm now duty bound to go on a many years long Eric Dolphy worship period - I've only been playing about 10 months and I've spent the last month studying and learning "Miss Ann" - a stunning composition - there's a great rendition on "Last Date" - one of Eric's last live albums in Europe, from 1964 - I think it's also the debut recording for Han Bennink - the great dutch drummer/percussionist

Other alto sax favourites for me include Ornette Coleman and John Zorn - so I think I'll be busy for a while !! (yes ok - there's a certain Charles Christopher Parker that I've failed to mention - I'll probably learn a few of his tunes too along the way !!)
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
I'm really having to force myself to play the alto. Sounds too duck like. But it's getting a lot better as I experiment. But I miss the richness of the tenor.... I think I've got a lot to learn to get a good sound out of it. Thanks BS, will help keep me working at it!
If it sounds too duck like it is probably an embouchure issue. My alto usually has a more tenor like quality with more focus which I love. I'll do a bit more listening to Dolphy and see if I can get anywhere with it.......
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
If it sounds too duck like it is probably an embouchure issue. My alto usually has a more tenor like quality with more focus which I love. I'll do a bit more listening to Dolphy and see if I can get anywhere with it.......
Sorry Tom, it's an old post, I solved it by moving to the Morgan. It's not as sweet as the Brilhart, but blows easily with a lovely warm sound.

As an aside I don't like the sound of many big name alto players, to me they mostly sound like ducks... Heresy again... So maybe it's a preference issue. My teacher and more importantly my wife are really happy with the way I sound on alto, as well as tenor, and I'm happy where I am for now, not that I'm expecting to want to change, but you never know....

But I'd really be interested to hear the results of your experiments.
 

altissimo

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,355
I always felt that Dolphy's best playing was with other people's bands - there's some great live recordings of him running rings round Coltrane - http://youtu.be/dwXjj7J1Wb8
and Mingus At Antibes is a fantastic album, as are all the recordings from that european tour eg - http://youtu.be/PXTij2srvQ8

Blues And The Abstract Truth by Oliver Nelson is worth a listen..

I've never got the hang of Out To Lunch - too deliberately quirky, although great musicianship - Last Date is excellent and there's some good recordings with Ron Carter...

I love the alto as much as any other instrument and anyway, what's wrong with ducks??
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Apologies for not being more observant, Kev. Not that enamoured by Eric Dolphy, and had to play some North European Jazz to effect a cure. Just back from a walk on Three Cliffs Bay, and mental health has been restored!
 

Mike

Senior Member
Messages
559
Yeah, I love Eric Dolphy's playing on all three of his chosen instruments. A virtuosic musician!
Years ago I studied jazz in NYC with a fellow named Ira Jackson who personally studied with pianist Barry Harris.
Ira grew up with alto saxist Charles McPherson and trumpeter Lonnie Hillyer back in Detroit who also
studied with Barry Harris.
I was lucky to meet Charles in Ira's apartment. Charles said I sounded like Lucky Thompson. Made my day to say the least!


Anyway,


Well, Ira always had some cool stories to tell about days gone by. Ira was at a Mingus session
and Mingus presented this passage that the other musician's couldn't seem to read correctly.
Eric Dolphy walks into the session, apparently late, and he takes off his coat, puts his alto together and takes one look at
the passage the others were having difficulty with and reads it perfectly without warming up.
Mingus merely smiled and said "yeah man, that's it"...............


Also, when a set was in intermission, Eric would go the bathroom and continue to play. Profound practioner of the woodwinds!


I was told that Eric was an extremely approachable individual. He had such a great attitude when it came to sharing his knowledge with other musicians.


One of my favorite jazz musicians without a doubt since back in the day!
 

musicalmechanical

New Member
Messages
11
"When you hear music, after its over - its gone in the air. You can never capture it again."
Eric Dolphy (spoken at the end of the "Last Date" album - his concert in 1964 in Holland, just before his untimely death.)

I first heard this as a sample in "Underground Vibes" by DJ Cam. It was only years later when i got into dolphy that i realised.

inspirational and beautiful music - his imagination is beyond
 

kernewegor

Bon vivant, raconteur and twit
Messages
1,736
Just saw this thread... Dolphy has been a favourite of mine for ages. Music for when you are awake and with your wits about you, rather than stooging along half asleep. (Mind you, there is music suitable for quietly dreaming along to, and that doesn't mean its any less good - just different. De gustibus non est disputandem, horses for courses and stuff.)

Much of Dolphy is full on, strap on your seat belt stuff. Whole passages have the prosody and dynamics of speech and he will suddenly become song-like with cries and shouts. He can be lyrical, too. His flute on 'You don't know what love is' is simply beautiful. At one point he sounds like a mother calling her child to hurry along, and there are bird calls... amazing stuff.
 

dolphesque

New Member
Messages
15
'Outward Bound' is a good album with him as leader if 'out To Lunch' isn't your thing; some nice playing an all three of his main instruments, I especially love '245', and Freddie Hubbard is on good form too.
 

kernewegor

Bon vivant, raconteur and twit
Messages
1,736
Just got seven classic Dolphy albums on 4CDs from my favourite CD shop in Truro, Music Nostalgia with which I have no connection other than as a customer hoping that they stay in business for many a long year more...

The albums are 'Outward Bound'; 'Far Cry'; 'Out There'; 'Screamin' the Blues'; 'At The Five Spot Vol 1'; 'Hot and Cool Latin'; 'Here and There'.

'Outward Bound' and 'Out There' I already had on CD, but for £11.99 for two spares and five more albums I'm not complaining... A great collection with some stuff I had not heard before, including the 'Screamin' the Blues' album with Oliver Nelson...

Digitally remastered by Real Gone Jazz www.musicmelon.co.uk. if your local CD shop wants to know.. also CDs by Monk, Chet Baker, Adderley, Gerry Mulligan, Diz, Bud Powell, Sonny Stitt, MJQ, Oscar Peterson, Mingus... lots of greats, but not all - no Bird on their list that I could see, for instance...
 
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