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Eric Dolphy

Eric Dolphy was a true original with his own distinctive styles on alto, flute, and bass clarinet. His music fell into the "avant-garde" category yet he did not discard chordal improvisation altogether (although the relationship of his notes to the chords was often pretty abstract). While most of the other "free jazz" players sounded very serious in their playing, Dolphy's solos often came across as ecstatic and exuberant. His improvisations utilized very wide intervals, a variety of nonmusical speechlike sounds, and its own logic. Although the alto was his main axe, Dolphy was the first flutist to move beyond bop (influencing James Newton) and he largely introduced the bass clarinet to jazz as a solo instrument. He was also one of the first (after Coleman Hawkins) to record unaccompanied horn solos, preceding Anthony Braxton by five years.

Eric Dolphy first recorded while with Roy Porter & His Orchestra (1948-1950) in Los Angeles, he was in the Army for two years, and he then played in obscurity in L.A. until he joined the Chico Hamilton Quintet in 1958. In 1959 he settled in New York and was soon a member of the Charles Mingus Quartet. By 1960 Dolphy was recording regularly as a leader for Prestige and gaining attention for his work with Mingus, but throughout his short career he had difficulty gaining steady work due to his very advanced style. Dolphy recorded quite a bit during 1960-1961, including three albums cut at the Five Spot while with trumpeter Booker Little, Free Jazz with Ornette Coleman, sessions with Max Roach, and some European dates.

Late in 1961 Dolphy was part of the John Coltrane Quintet; their engagement at the Village Vanguard caused conservative critics to try to smear them as playing "anti-jazz" due to the lengthy and very free solos. During 1962-1963 Dolphy played third stream music with Gunther Schuller and Orchestra U.S.A., and gigged all too rarely with his own group. In 1964 he recorded his classic Out to Lunch for Blue Note and traveled to Europe with the Charles Mingus Sextet (which was arguably the bassist's most exciting band, as shown on The Great Concert of Charles Mingus). After he chose to stay in Europe, Dolphy had a few gigs but then died suddenly from a diabetic coma at the age of 36, a major loss.

Virtually all of Eric Dolphy's recordings are in print, including a nine-CD box set of all of his Prestige sessions. In addition, Dolphy can be seen on film with John Coltrane (included on The Coltrane Legacy) and with Mingus from 1964 on a video released by Shanachie. ~ Scott Yanow, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Conversations

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Track List: At The Five Spot Vol. 2

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Track List: Eric Dolphy At The Five Spot, Vol.1

Comments

The absolute best.
So many jazz greats died so young Some of the greatest musicians composers ever
Ome of the most compelling musicians I have ever listened to.
Bobby Hutcherson's vibes on Out To Lunch combined with Tony William's drums do not leave anything to be desired. Call it Anti-Jazz if you wanna, he was an innovator.
out there is the cut n it is really cookin n it is out dere
Out to Lunch is a brilliant album for so many reasons, one of which is the use of Bobby Hutcherson instead of a piano player.
mlaney42
Dolphy is one of many jazz/bop era favorites. His command of the instruments he played is uncanny. I had the pleasure of seeing him 'once' when he played with Chico at the Light House in Hermosa Beach. After which I have collected most of his music. Miss him and the DJ who knew the jazz scene, CHUCK NILES. FYI, Thanks for Pandora.
iron man is unanswerably blistering
Genius on the sax, Genius on the flute, Genius on the Bass Clarinet...
What more could you ask for???
No less than Mingus and Trane wanted and got him in their bands...
Thank God he recorded quite a bit...
Love me some Dolphy any time of the day or night!
Eric Dolphy is so amazing.
we're talkin loft jazz here!
katrell.thom a s 7 4
Just learned about Mr.Dolphy recently from a friend who said I looked like him. I so very glad I have come to appreciate his art from the instruments he played with such dedication and ease.
dave21328
dolphy and pharoah inspired trane to reinvent himself in the early sixties. garrison, tyner and jones, great as they were, couldn't quite keep up. Dolphy plays on an amazing version of "my favorite things" on the recently discovered tapes from the classic quartet's european tour in 1963.
check out Jazz-Icons DVD series. "Charles mingus in europe", with eric Dolphy. at his absolute peak with the mingus group.
dolphy decided to stay in europe( hence the title by mingus " so long, eric" ) after the tour, he subsequently died in Berlin, Germany of diabetic shock. Also see DVD " last Date"
walter Ohlemutz. Oakland, ca
Very Nice!
dolphy showed me what improv was susposed to be, speaking in musical terms, and brought excitement and a fresh look to moderen jazz. A master musician and free spirit he was an inspiration to all jazz players past and present. The music he created with Booker Little had a certain sadness in it's disonance that perhaps a hint to both musicians early and tragic deaths. Eric still remains the unchallenged explorer of the 'out there', I truley miss his playing..... . .
Dolphy was on another level...
Too Good.
dmvollmuth
fantastic

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