After two albums on Le Chant du Monde at Harmonia Mundi, then “Nomade Sonore” (Revelation 2015 – Jazz Magazine) on Gaya, Éric Séva proves himself to be an atypical musician whose curiosity feeds his creative spirit. He continues with this fourth opus “Body and Blues” dedicated to the blues, to the blue note. In this new project he plumbs the essence of his own sensitivity, his own story. Blues is the verbalization of a constant struggle against adversity. Thanks to the sounds of the baritone, soprano and sopranino saxophones sublimated by the unexpected use of a wah-wah pedal, blues finds an unexpected voice with Éric Séva.
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.
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.
Beat Avenue is 60-year-old Eric Andersen's most ambitious album, a 90-minute tour de force that encapsulates his musical and lyrical concerns over a lifetime. The music is often-dense rock dominated by a rhythm section led by guitarist Eric Bazilian of the Hooters. Equally dense is Andersen's highly poetic versifying, which he sings in his gruff baritone. Andersen is world-weary in these songs, roaming the globe haunted by the past and fearful of the future. He confesses to a reckless youth, but acknowledges that he can no longer afford such license. "What once was Charles Bukowski," he sings in "Before Everything Changed," referring to the free-living beat poet, "is now Emily Dickinson." The ballads and love songs "Song of You and Me," "Shape of a Broken Heart," "Under the Shadows," and "Still Looking for You" are rendered tenderly, but they are also full of regret and loss, past-tense reflections that recount memories of love long gone. The first disc of Beat Avenue is complete and formidable unto itself, but there is a second CD consisting of two lengthy songs. The title track, running more than 26 minutes, is a beat poem with jazzy accompaniment by Robert Aaron in which Andersen recalls a poetry reading he attended as a 20-year-old on the day President Kennedy was assassinated.
A quarter of a century after his death at 36, the astonishing saxophonist and flutist Eric Dolphy is still influencing and inspiring the most adventuresome jazz musicians. Dolphy was daring and iconoclastic while fully immersed in the jazz tradition. His musicianship was so thorough that innovators like Charles Mingus and John Coltrane held him in awe. In a dream partnership, Dolphy and trumpeter Booker Little made a handful of recordings in 1960 and '61, shortly before Little's own premature death. The first of them are in this album. Included is the rare "Serene," never before issued with the session's other material.