Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 20 of 51 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,537 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm continuing to work on my grad. project over the next few months- I've picked 6 specific players who have mastered both saxophone and flute, and who seemed to do some ground breaking stuff on flute to bring that voice to the next level in jazz history.

Eric Dolphy is the next one on the timeline. Any advice on recordings, best solos to transcribe, transcriptions I can analyze, interesting biographical info., photographs, books,articles, etc. would be much appreciated.

One thing I am hoping to better understand about Dolphy has to do with his concept of harmony. He seems "free" and yet creates phrases. I'm not doing an exhaustive study of this, I'm mostly focusing on generalities about his life and music, and on his flute/saxophone playing.

You've given me great input on the other players I've been studying, so I'm hoping to get some good info.!
 

·
Discombobulated SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 201
Joined
·
9,736 Posts
You are very brave if you plan to tackle transcribing Dolphy solos! I hope you have a good slow-downer :bluewink:

For my money, he was a consistently awesome player so finding solos to transcribe shouldn't be a problem. One alto solo that I really like is a version of Hot House done live in Berlin and released on a double LP on Enja. I don't know if it's on CD but it's the first track here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvv0EEzs4HE

As for biographical info, this taped interview of Eric's parents Eric and Sadie from 1975, 12 years after Eric's death, are well worth watching - I especially liked Eric Sr. describing Eric practicing one note for weeks on end: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTob2yRcvPM

There's a brief book that I read years ago and don't really remember the content, but it has positive Amazon reviews: https://www.amazon.com/Eric-Dolphy-Musical-Biography-Discography/dp/0306805243
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,537 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
You are very brave if you plan to tackle transcribing Dolphy solos! I hope you have a good slow-downer :bluewink:

For my money, he was a consistently awesome player so finding solos to transcribe shouldn't be a problem. One alto solo that I really like is a version of Hot House done live in Berlin and released on a double LP on Enja. I don't know if it's on CD but it's the first track here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvv0EEzs4HE

As for biographical info, this taped interview of Eric's parents Eric and Sadie from 1975, 12 years after Eric's death, are well worth watching - I especially liked Eric Sr. describing Eric practicing one note for weeks on end: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTob2yRcvPM

There's a brief book that I read years ago and don't really remember the content, but it has positive Amazon reviews: https://www.amazon.com/Eric-Dolphy-Musical-Biography-Discography/dp/0306805243
Thank you very much for this info.- yes, he'll probably be one that I just find some transcriptions other people have already done and look at them. There's also a documentary I found. I knew he died from complications related to diabetes, but didn't realize he was misdiagnosed- they thought he was a drug addict and didn't treat him for the diabetes- only 36 y.o.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,633 Posts
You are very brave if you plan to tackle transcribing Dolphy solos! I hope you have a good slow-downer :bluewink:

For my money, he was a consistently awesome player so finding solos to transcribe shouldn't be a problem. One alto solo that I really like is a version of Hot House done live in Berlin and released on a double LP on Enja. I don't know if it's on CD but it's the first track here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvv0EEzs4HE
Yes, hats off to anyone willing to document Eric Dolphy's work this way! There are hardly any transcriptions available from the usual sources, so anyone like me who would like to just scratch the surface of what he was doing has to do some grunt work.
One thing I figured out recently - yet again - was that there is nothing new under the sun, and whereas I always felt that he was really doing HIS THING like no one else, well, in some major ways he was really extending some of what went before; in this case - no surprise - the work of Bird, in which I found ideas that sound just like Eric Dolphy! This record is the best example, on - wouldn't you know it? - Hot House. Starting at the 58:15 mark and then again just before the 59:00 mark.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8fnoVgNSvc
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,587 Posts
Happy New Year Sonja and I think watching this video will give you, or anyone else interested, some insight into how Dolphy approached this famous Billie Holiday song:

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,833 Posts
Dolphy's playing has always fascinated me. It can sound so out but somehow retains a sense of melodic and harmonic continuity and logic that holds it together. It like hearing some kind of parallel universe against what's going on where everything is a little askew but logical.

Here is an interesting paper analyzing some of Dolphy's harmonic ideas. Might give you something to look for if you start looking at transcriptions.

http://www.academia.edu/37432451/Eric_Dolphy_The_Diminished_Scale_and_The_Emancipation_of_Dissonance
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,587 Posts
pontius, one of my teachers explained that Dolphy at his foundation was perhaps the closest player to emulate Bird. Add to that his fascination with Monk and Powell and your understanding of the 2 to three octave runs, diminished and augmented pivot points as well as using ascending and descending 4ths, whole tone scales, chromaticism, seemingly out of no where, all of this and he’s actually playing more in than out. It’s just very challenging because he’s pushing the boundaries without erasing them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,611 Posts
What a great project! Dolphy is such an inspiration. I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that his Blue Note date, "Out to Lunch" is the one most people point to as his classic, with the "live" Five Spot stuff and "Out There" on Prestige also being very highly esteemed. One thing about Dolphy is that, perhaps more than any other major figure, he did a lot of his best work as a sideman, so in addition to checking out his own recordings, there's a pile of great stuff recorded with others. The European tours he did with Coltrane and Mingus are very well documented, so if you wanted to hear how he approached the same material on different gigs, that'd be a great place to look.Hell, basically everything he did with Mingus is great. He's on spectacular records like Ornette's "Free Jazz," Andrew Hill's "Point of Departure," Oliver Nelson's "Blues and the Abstract Truth," and so many others. I'm trying to remember which of these have the best flute solos, but memory fails: I need to go back and listen to some Dolphy!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,587 Posts
Virtually all recordings that you listen to, from the first recordings in his childhood home with the Clifford Brown quartet that was arranged by Buddy Collette, to Iron Man and all of the late duet recordings with Ron Carter, Dolphy’s musical personality manifests itself. It’s actually quite a trove, but I think a good start is his work with the Mingus group and the first Prestige recordings with him as a leader.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,537 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Fantastic stuff for me to look at- I have a lot to digest here-
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
253 Posts
Saxophonist/English Horn & Electric bassist Andrew White has transcribed a number of Eric Dolphy solos, and they are amazingly precise and were beautifully scribed. You should be able to find them on his website if it's still up. The Jazz archive at UCLA in Los Angeles also has some material on Eric Dolphy, also Kirk Silsbee, a writer on Jazz has done very extensive research for a book which has not been published. There is a biography which has been mentioned and a film (also mentioned) which although quirky is very intriguing. There are a number of videos, mostly from the same tour and also with Charles Mingus Ensemble. Dolphy is also seen in the movie Jazz on a Summers Day playing with Chico Hamiliton and sitting on the beach for a quick minute playing solo Alto flute. Lastly if you look around in old Rock and Roll movies you might see Eric playing Baritone Saxophone with a group called the Platters, but I don't think this applies to your research-just fun to see. Hope this helps
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
79 Posts
This book:
Importance of Being Eric Dolphy (Jazz avant-garde) (Paperback)
by Raymond Horricks (Author)
may be available on AMAZON.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,587 Posts
The Platters clip with Eric is on YouTube. Really bizarre to see and hear Dolphy just blend in on a doo wop tune!! Thanks for the Andrew White reference. I’m going to look into this!! One more thing Dolphy and that is Zappa’s Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue, awesome tune!!

Saxophonist/English Horn & Electric bassist Andrew White has transcribed a number of Eric Dolphy solos, and they are amazingly precise and were beautifully scribed. You should be able to find them on his website if it's still up. The Jazz archive at UCLA in Los Angeles also has some material on Eric Dolphy, also Kirk Silsbee, a writer on Jazz has done very extensive research for a book which has not been published. There is a biography which has been mentioned and a film (also mentioned) which although quirky is very intriguing. There are a number of videos, mostly from the same tour and also with Charles Mingus Ensemble. Dolphy is also seen in the movie Jazz on a Summers Day playing with Chico Hamiliton and sitting on the beach for a quick minute playing solo Alto flute. Lastly if you look around in old Rock and Roll movies you might see Eric playing Baritone Saxophone with a group called the Platters, but I don't think this applies to your research-just fun to see. Hope this helps
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,448 Posts
Look into his studies with Buddy Collette, whom also taught Charles Loyd and Frank Morgan. I believe there is an article or interview with Eric talking about his studies with Buddy. Also, his work with Chico Hamilton. He replaced Buddy in this group for a while I believe.

Eric wanted to be a symphonic flute player / orchestral player for a long time, from what I've heard over the years. He was a very dedicated flute player. His solo from Stolen Moments is pretty iconic on the flute and can give you an insight into just how controlled he was as a flute player. It also will give you a lot of insight to his harmonic approach.

Side note, if Buddy Collette isn't on your list of flute players you should amend it:). This guy was THE west coast guru and taught practically everybody flute and sax! His clarinet was incredible too. He has some incredible flute recordings out there though.

If you want to hear some really serious Dolphy playing, check out this link.

https://youtu.be/pZ3B1Q4us9U

He is smoking on flute with the Chico Hamilton group. His alto playing is killer too. You can hear Bird all day long. I mean pure Bird !!! Then on the 3rd track it's clarinet. 123!

Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2009-
Joined
·
2,759 Posts
Shoot me a pm if you'd like a copy of The Importance of Being Eric Dolphy and don't want to shell out $99 — you're free to borrow mine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,814 Posts
The ephemeral nature of music, so beautifully captured in "Last Date". The first time I heard this, it burned into my brain, and I've never forgotten it some 50 years later.

"When you hear music, after it's over, it's gone in the air. You can never capture it again."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,587 Posts
Steve, it’s a beautiful quote and I remember it being stated in the movie with a scene in which sheet music is floating and blowing around in a room, sunlit in an afternoon cast with large open windows. Numerous honey jars are brought into focus as well hinting at Dolphy’s known love of it and yet he either ignored his diabetic symptoms outright or was unaware the danger his health was in because he lead a clean almost ascetic life. Listening to the footage of his parents was very moving for me and you can clearly hear how important they were to Eric, even if they didn’t understand the magnitude of his accomplishment.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
1,376 Posts
Look into his studies with Buddy Collette, whom also taught Charles Loyd and Frank Morgan. I believe there is an article or interview with Eric talking about his studies with Buddy. Also, his work with Chico Hamilton. He replaced Buddy in this group for a while I believe.

Eric wanted to be a symphonic flute player / orchestral player for a long time, from what I've heard over the years. He was a very dedicated flute player. His solo from Stolen Moments is pretty iconic on the flute and can give you an insight into just how controlled he was as a flute player. It also will give you a lot of insight to his harmonic approach.

Side note, if Buddy Collette isn't on your list of flute players you should amend it:). This guy was THE west coast guru and taught practically everybody flute and sax! His clarinet was incredible too. He has some incredible flute recordings out there though.

If you want to hear some really serious Dolphy playing, check out this link.

https://youtu.be/pZ3B1Q4us9U

He is smoking on flute with the Chico Hamilton group. His alto playing is killer too. You can hear Bird all day long. I mean pure Bird !!! Then on the 3rd track it's clarinet. 123!

Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
FWIW, Eric and Buddy were both students of Merle Johnston although I believe Collette was like a mentor and did help develop a number of West Coast greats including Frank Morgan. Johnston was an advocate of closed tips and very soft reeds a la Daniel Bonade.
 
1 - 20 of 51 Posts
Top