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Any Dolphy fans out there? Can explain why you like him? He is so not my cup of tea. Trane sounds just totally amazing, epic and towering as usual, but then Dolphy comes on and it over for me.

 

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Eric is totally different from Trane. He's really closer in spirit to Bird, if Bird played disjointed lines.

This probably isn't the best example of Eric's playing. He was much better on bass clarinet.
 

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a lot of people (critics) felt that way when they listened to trane in the later years, they wondered why he allied himself with musicians that "seemed" to be weaker in ability or those who's direction seemed bad.

i enjoy dolphy though...the guy use to stress over bird solos, hardcore...
 

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In the beginning, I had to listen to a good amount of Trane before I figured out I liked it, then in the end I had to listen to a good amount of Dolphy before I figured out I did not really like it. I have a lot of respect for Dolphy, but over the years it started to rub me the wrong way. It was certainly hip at the time, but he made a personal style of using Parker's line structures but making carefully sure to play especially every note that went against the current harmony. It could be called the absolute reverse of Parker, or be-bop destructivism. It is very interesting, but unless you especially want to hear atonal or anti-harmonic sounds it kind of hurts. Personally I have no problem with atonal or 'out' playing, but generally it hurts my brain when it is set directly on top of more melodic tonal environments. It works better for me when it exists as its own color scheme.

Dolphy straddled the line, often having a straight harmonic background and playing the most painfully out lines on top of it hahahaha... Now, worse than that and for me sort of the last straw was that he also repeats his patterns ..well, repeatedly, hitting the same bleating goat notes over and over again. Sometimes he just makes me laugh, others he makes me hurt, but I always respect him. Just for me personal ear health I would much rather listen to Albert Ayler.
 

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I thought he was fine on alto. But his flute playing is what got me hooked. Maybe because the range of the flute and its overall sound compliments his angular approach to improvisation. He uses a lot of dissonant harmonies, and it takes getting used to not hearing the style of his contemporaries like Trane, Shorter etc.
 

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Check this one out :


Dolphy starts @4:30. It's really brilliant. The sound of the bass clarinet really supports his angular aesthetics imo.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I guess there is no accounting for taste. Its my belief that music contains 3 basic elements, Melody, harmony and Rhythm in some combination, or each my itself. I hear very scant little of any of these in Dolphy's playing.
 

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Dolphy was an incredible woodwind player (cl,Bcl,As, Fl), but also a brilliant composer, check his album Out to lunch or The Illinois Concert, his playing was an extension of his musical mind, which are impossible not to recognize it when you listen to it.
He also had a beautiful tone on alto which often is not heard because of his fast playing, his wonderful sound on alto can be heard very clear here on this recording with Chico Hamilton playing In a Sentimental Mood, in a beautiful version.
LateNiteSax: take your time to hear him, for sure he will be your cup of tea, sooner or later, his playing is deep and beautiful.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-GVrExLj-Q
 

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I guess there is no accounting for taste. Its my belief that music contains 3 basic elements, Melody, harmony and Rhythm in some combination, or each my itself. I hear very scant little of any of these in Dolphy's playing.
Muisc also contains texture and dynamics.
 

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I must admit I've never really "got" Eric Dolphy on alto. I really love his flute and bass clarinet stuff and listen to that with great pleasure as well as awe. I always wonder if maybe he over-thought his alto playing or something.

Obviously that last remark is pure speculation and somewhat presumptuous at that.
 

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We are all different and sometimes we are not prepared, at a certain moment in time, to "hear" what is there. We lack something or someplace to "put" what we are experiencing into some coherent context. I know this has been true for me many times, and each time it has turned out to be important in some way.

But the best example I can give is this: my son, at age 14, became a big Dave Matthews fan and particularly loved the drummer. He played me something and I thought, if my son likes this drumming, he should hear Billy Cobham playing with John McLaughlin on THE INNER MOUNTING FLAME, so I bought a copy for him.

After listening to it, he just said- that makes no sense, I can't figure out what the hell is going on, that really sucks.

So, I said, oh well, maybe it's not for you, and left it, a bit surprised but, that's the way it goes.

Maybe a year later, he comes to me and says- man, that Billy Cobham just plays outrageously on TIMF, and he became hooked on drummers like Cobham, Tony Williams, Milford Graves, Sunny Murray, Warren Smith, Elvin Jones, etc. Something had changed for him and, at that point, he "heard" what was there.

Sometimes, you just need to revisit it a while later. Maybe something is different by then.
 

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I liked his bass clarinet playing better when no one else was playing.
 

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I don't know what clip you guys are checking out but I hear Dolphy hitting the changes and bringing some serious burning energy to the tune to rival Trane. I mean really, how else can you take a solo following Coltrane? For me, I love his energy and commitment to his sound and the tune, and his fearless originality. He burns on every horn he plays. Just get a copy of that entire Mingus DVD and watch the looks on everyone else's faces everytime Eric stands up, it's instantly blast-off time. The man is in orbit. It's OK if you disagree though.
 

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I don't know what clip you guys are checking out but I hear Dolphy hitting the changes and bringing some serious burning energy to the tune to rival Trane.
Gotta agree with this. Personally I prefer Turrentines version of this tune. I never did like simply burning up and down the horn.
 

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I don't know what clip you guys are checking out but I hear Dolphy hitting the changes and bringing some serious burning energy to the tune to rival Trane. I mean really, how else can you take a solo following Coltrane? For me, I love his energy and commitment to his sound and the tune, and his fearless originality. He burns on every horn he plays. Just get a copy of that entire Mingus DVD and watch the looks on everyone else's faces everytime Eric stands up, it's instantly blast-off time. The man is in orbit. It's OK if you disagree though.
+1.
I love Eric Dolphy's alto work let alone the flute and Bass Clarinet. He hears the changes his own way, and there is indeed a higher harmonic ear with this great technical leaps and bounds. Having said that, I can see how some may not understand or appreciate it. The fact that Coltrane,Mingus,Little and Hubbard played, toured and recorded with him should speak volumes. If you watch the video 'The Last Date' video your appreciation of him as an amazing person and musician might grow.
 

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I like Dolphy's playing, and find his playing melodic, cohesive, and generally inspired. Initially it may seem to some hears that he employs an unusual approach to chord changes; maybe this is because of his frequent use of wide skips and seemingly dissonant tones, and cyclical patterns which seem to weave in and out of conventional diatonic patterns we're used to hearing. I'm not the one to explain it in detail, but there is definitely an internal logic to his inside/outside approach.

Of course, many others including Bird, Dizzy Gillespie, Coltrane, and Ornette were initially perceived as unorthodox/outside the mainstream.

Everyone has different tastes, I guess Dolphy may be more of an acquired taste for some. He actually asissted Coltrane with arranging and production on Africa Brass, which is a classic recording.
 

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I must admit I've never really "got" Eric Dolphy on alto. I really love his flute and bass clarinet stuff and listen to that with great pleasure as well as awe. I always wonder if maybe he over-thought his alto playing or something.
Same for me.

Dolphy did his last recordings in The Netherlands in 1964 with a great Dutch rhythm section. Search YouTube on 'Eric Dolphy Last Date' and you will find some amazing stuff (IMO). Check for instance this:

- On flute:

- On bass clarinet:
 

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Blues and the Abstract Truth is one of my desert island record picks

Dolphy really shines

...can I add that dolphy doesnt get represented very well on primitive formats....and youtube dont make it same video sounds MUCH better on my laserdisc
 

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Regarding Dolphys tone on alto, really now... he can't lick Stitt's ligature. Imagine how a record with Dolphy and Wayne Shorter together would sound... the two worst tones in the history of jazz. But Dolphy... All that noodling, honking and screeching is jive. Jaws would boot that jiveness out of Minton's Playhouse so fast It'd make your head spin. That being said, there is lots of post bop-avante guarde- outside stuff I like. I Pretty much enjoy and appreciate everything I hear by David Murray, Authur Blythe, Pharoah Sanders, Garzone with the Fringe, Thomas Chapin, George Adams, Coltrane if its not the TOoooooo far out stuff (up to Ascention after that he lost me). Albert Ayler's inspiring too. These guys all had and have amazing tones too..
 
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