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At the Five Spot,, Vol. 1 (Rudy Van Gelder Remaster) [feat. Booker Little, Mal Waldron, Richard Davis & Ed Blackwell]

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With most classic jazz artists, live recordings are among their most essential albums. That's certainly the case with this 1961 recording from New York's Five Spot, documenting an Eric Dolphy date that was co-led by young trumpeter Booker Little, with a heavyweight rhythm section of pianist Mal Waldron, bassist Richard Davis, and drummer Eddie Blackwell. Dolphy and company pick up where 1960's Out There left off, pushing further at the edges of bebop toward a more avant-garde destination that eventually would lead to his 1964 magnum opus/swan song, Out to Lunch. Dolphy's bass clarinet buzzes and blasts brilliantly through "Bee Vamp," and his alto sax careens madly but musically across "Fire Waltz" (which actually isn't in waltz time), blazing new trails all along the way. Little's trumpet plays a dizzying game of tag with Dolphy's axes, provoking sad speculation about how much more they might have done together if Little hadn't died just months later and Dolphy hadn't passed months after Out to Lunch's release.


Born: June 20, 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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