Thursday, January 25, 2018

Eric Dolphy - 1962 - In Europe

Eric Dolphy 
In Europe 

01. I Don't Know Why
02. God Bless The Child
03. The Way You Look Tonight
04. Oleo
05. Hi-Fly

Alto Saxophone, Bass Clarinet, Flute – Eric Dolphy
Bass – Chuck Israels, Erik Moseholm
Drums – Jørn Elniff
Piano – Bent Axen

Recorded live at "Studenterföreningen", Copenhagen, Denmark on September 8th, 1961

The original Danish release Debut 136 issued the last take of "In the Blues" as "I Don't Know Why".

The complete set for the nite was later reissued in three volumes between 1964 and 1965, and later again in 2012 as Eric Dolphy Quartet In Europe. The Complete 1961 Copenhagen

In Europe, Vol. 1

01. Hi Fly
02. Glad To Be Unhappy
03. God Bless The Child
04. Oleo

In Europe, Vol. 2

01. Don't Blame Me
02. The Way You Look Tonight
03. Miss Ann
04. Laura

In Europe, Vol. 3

01. Woody'n You 10:20
02. When Lights Are Low
03. In The Blues (1-2-3)

Some revolutionaries are born, others are made. Ornette Coleman is one of the former: he just seemed to hear music in a different way to anybody else - he probably hummed to himself when he was a toddler in an Ornettety Coleman sort of way, or maybe like Jimmy Stewart in The Glenn Miller Story he knew there was a sound out there that was his and as soon as he made it he knew that that was that. Eric Dolphy, however, was one of the latter: he moved slowly, each week, each month, each year was part of a progress, an adventure, that step by step led into new territories, the discovery of new sounds. And, as with John Coltrane, this was a voyage that only ended with his death. In a way he was a more radical musician than Coleman in that his music was always part of a process of change, of overturning what he had done up to that point. In the late summer of 1961 Dolphy set off for Europe with his alto, flute and bass clarinet in his bag and played music with whoever he could find. On this album, in early September, he was in Copenhagen and teamed up with a local rhythm section. But travel limits the horizons and the locals had little understanding of where Dolphy was voyaging, so the emphasis is on Dolphy, the band providing a rather conservative background. (Which isn't to dismiss the Danish musicians, they are competent - I like the drummer best - it's just that they are not working on the same level of imaginative engagement.) But then the band are only on two of the four tracks. One of the others - God Bless the Child - is a bass clarinet solo. I find the bass clarinet a strange instrument, its tone is as rich as polished oak, but then, at least as played by jazz musicians, it acts like an excited Jack Russell terrier rushing around and if you give it half a chance trying to mate with your leg. I can never make up my mind how successful Dolphy's God Bless the Child is: sometimes I find it enormously impressive, imaginatively spring boarding from the original material through idea after idea, but at other times I just find it showy, a mass of tics and mannerisms - it's probably somewhere in the middle, but I'm unsure where. My favourite number is Hi Fly, a duet - Dolphy on flute - with Chuck Israels on bass. (Israels just happened to be in Copenhagen so sat in for the tune.) But Israels also seems conservative compared to Dolphy: his solo is good natured and relaxed, but amiable compared to Dolphy's adventureness - and throughout he seems to act as Dolphy's soberly suited straight man. It's all worth hearing but there is nothing to match Aggression recorded at the Five Spot a couple of months earlier.

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