Monday, March 22, 2010

Fundamental Recordings w/ Eric Dolphy

One of the reasons I make these rather ridiculous lists is one of the reasons I do this blog.  My jazz collecting became a lot more fun, and consequently accelerated, when first I began to give it some structure.  It seems more fun and  maybe more helpful to make notes in the form of a blog than just writing them down.  I, however, make a notation in the Penguin Guide (may angels sing its praises!) when I acquire something.  

Well, one micro-structure can be built on the above topic.  Eric Dolphy might have a higher density of influential recordings per year of real work than any other jazz artist I know anything about.  His career begins in earnest in 1958 at age 30 and ends with his untimely death on June 29th, 1964. What is astounding is how many of his recordings in that period, both as leader and sideman, rank as fundamental.  Here is a quick list:
Oliver Nelson/Screamin' the Blues
Ken McIntyre&Eric Dolphy/Looking Ahead
Charles Mingus/Mingus at Antibes
Ornette Coleman/Free Jazz
Eric Dolphy/Far Cry
Oliver Nelson/Blues and the Abstract Truth
George Russell/Ezz-Thetics
John Coltrane/Complete Africa Brass Sessions
Mal Waldron/The Quest
Eric Dolphy & Booker Little/Live at the Five Spot 1&2, Memorial Album
John Coltrane/Live at the Village Vanguard

Eric Dolphy/Out to Lunch
Andrew Hill/Point of Departure
Charles Mingus/Town Hall Concert
These are just the ones that stand out (in my view) as essential items in any decent collection.   I would go further to say that most of them are immortal treasures of modern jazz.  I wouldn't advise someone new to jazz to begin with Dolphy, but anyone who can appreciate these recordings can live at the heart of jazz.  

Here is a slice from one of the cuts.  
Charles Mingus/What Love?/Mingus at Antibes/Slice
The number begins with Ted Curson's trumpet solo, backed by Mingus.  The slice above is Dolphy's solo, which features a marvelous interplay between the bass clarinet and bass. 
You can clearly hear Mingus managing his player:  "Talk to me!"  Danny Richmond plays drums.  

Mingus at Antibes is easy to come by, but eMusic has a much larger collection that includes it for a steal.  Buy the whole thing. 

No comments:

Post a Comment