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Eric Dolphy On Unique Jazz

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Album Review

Eric Dolphy was not only a very original stylist — no one has ever sounded like him, before or after — but a talented instrumentalist as well, able to develop his own styles on alto, bass clarinet, and flute. This two-LP set contains a pair of his best sessions from the busy year of 1960. Dolphy is teamed in a relatively conventional quintet with the young trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, pianist Jaki Byard, bassist George Tucker, and drummer Roy Haynes for half of the two-fer. Highlights of this date include Dolphy's "G.W." (named for bandleader/arranger Gerald Wilson), "Glad to Be Unhappy," and the exuberant "Miss Toni." The other session is more unusual, with Dolphy (who takes a rare solo on B flat clarinet) in a quartet with cellist Ron Carter, bassist George Duvivier, and drummer Roy Haynes. His ferocious bass clarinet solo on the well-titled "Out There" sounds very conversational, almost like a verbal argument, and Carter's cello is often quite eerie on these atmospheric pieces. Highly recommended music.


Born: 20 June 1928 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s

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...
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