This second Eric Dolphy release from Impro-Jazz marks an essential addition to the incomparable reedman's discography, as it contains two of the rare occasions in which Dolphy was captured on film. Both of these clips feature Dolphy performing with the Charles Mingus Sextet. The first shows Dolphy in a rehearsal with the band, which explains the inclusion of two different takes of Mingus' "So Long Eric". For the rehearsal's third and final tune, the band begins playing Mingus' composition, "Meditations".
n the development of jazz's avant-garde movement, the late Eric Dolphy remains a pivotal figure. While he expanded the range and possibilities of the alto saxophone and bass clarinet–his technique drew upon vocalized sounds from both those instruments–Dolphy remained grounded in the bebop movement. Simply put, he clung to the swinging theme-solos-theme structure while his innovative, soaring solos embraced freedom. STOCKHOLM SESSIONS is taken from a Swedish television program on which Dolphy and his quintet performed in 1961, and captures Dolphy at his peak. His solos on alto sax and bass clarinet are unfettered, passionate, and hearty, and his flute is possessed of beautiful classical refinement. The band also features some crackling trumpet from Idrees Sulieman and sharp playing from a pair of Scandinavian pianists.
This recently-discovered release is certainly the jazz find of the year so far in 2007. In much the way that John Coltrane/Thelonious Monk Live at Carnegie Hall and, to some extent, the live Coltrane document One Up, One Down, Cornell 1964 brings a major piece of jazz history into focus in the best way possible–with an actual recording that documents it.
For years, Last Date was thought of as Eric Dolphy's final recording until Unrealized Tapes (from nine days later) was released; Dolphy passed away only 18 days after performing this music. This LP from the European West Wind label features the great Dolphy on alto and bass clarinet with a sextet that includes trumpeter Donald Byrd, tenor saxophonist Nathan Davis and a French rhythm section performing four of his compositions including the otherwise unknown "Springtime." Eric Dolphy collectors will have to get this gem.
This CD reissue has rarities from three different Eric Dolphy sessions. "April Fool" and the alternate take of "G.W." are drawn from Dolphy's initial date as a leader, a quintet outing with trumpeter Freddie Hubbard and pianist Jaki Byard. "Don't Blame Me" is taken from a Copenhagen concert but it is the two remaining numbers ("Status Seeking" and an unaccompanied rendition on bass clarinet of "God Bless the Child") that are of greatest interest.
This two-LP set features the great multi-instrumentalist Eric Dolphy mostly stretching out on standards, coming up with very original statements on such songs as "Hot House," "When Lights Are Low," "Hi Fly," "I'll Remember April" and "God Bless the Child" (the latter taken as an unaccompanied bass clarinet solo), in addition to two brief originals. With trumpeter Benny Bailey helping out on half of the selections along with a strong rhythm section, the two-fer would be a perfect introduction for listeners not familiar with Eric Dolphy's innovative style, but this set is very difficult to find.
Allegedly Eric Dolphy's final recorded performance – a fact historians roundly dispute – this session in Hilversum, Holland, teams the masterful bass clarinetist, flutist, and alto saxophonist with a Dutch trio of performers who understand the ways in which their hero and leader modified music in such a unique, passionate, and purposeful way far from convention. In pianist Misha Mengelberg, bassist Jacques Schols, and drummer Han Bennink, Dolphy was firmly entwined with a group who understood his off-kilter, pretzel logic concept in shaping melodies and harmonies that were prime extensions of Thelonious Monk, Ornette Coleman, and Cecil Taylor. These three Dolphy originals, one from Monk, one from Mengelberg, and a standard are played so convincingly and with the utmost courage that they created a final stand in the development of how the woodwindist conceived of jazz like no one else before, during, or after his life.
Reissue. Features the high-fidelity SHM-CD format (compatible with standard CD player) and 24bit remastering. Includes an alternate take of "Hat and Beard" and a track for the first time in the world. Out to Lunch stands as Eric Dolphy's magnum opus, an absolute pinnacle of avant-garde jazz in any form or era. Its rhythmic complexity was perhaps unrivaled since Dave Brubeck's Time Out, and its five Dolphy originals – the jarring Monk tribute "Hat and Beard," the aptly titled "Something Sweet, Something Tender," the weirdly jaunty flute showcase "Gazzelloni," the militaristic title track, the drunken lurch of "Straight Up and Down" – were a perfect balance of structured frameworks, carefully calibrated timbres, and generous individual freedom.
In 1963 (probably July, though some sources place the dates in May or June), Eric Dolphy recorded some sessions in New York with producer Alan Douglas, the fruits of which were issued on small labels as the LPs Conversations and Iron Man. They've been reissued a number of times on various labels, occasionally compiled together, but never with quite the treatment they deserve (which is perhaps why they're not as celebrated as they should be). In whatever form, though, it's classic, essential Dolphy that stands as some of his finest work past Out to Lunch.
The companion piece to Conversations (recorded at the same mid-1963 sessions with producer Alan Douglas), Iron Man is every bit as essential and strikes a more consistent ambience than its widely varied twin. It also more clearly anticipates the detailed, abstract sound paintings of Dolphy's masterwork Out to Lunch, in large part because this time around the program is weighted toward Dolphy originals. "Iron Man," "Burning Spear," and the shorter "Mandrake" all have pretty outside themes, full of Dolphy's trademark wide interval leaps and playful sense of dissonance.