Friday, January 26, 2018

Lindsay Marks - 1973 - Lindsay Marks

Lindsay Marks 
Lindsay Marks

01. Son Of The Sun
02. One More Time
03. Candy Works
04. Sad Girl
05. Manhunter
06. Family
07. The Dream
08. Good Morning
09. Airlord
10. The World
11. The Peace You're Looking For

Acoustic Bass – Bruce Lynch (tracks: A4, B2)
Bass – Paul Woolwright (tracks: A1 to A3, A6, B3, B4)
Clarinet – Peter Madill (tracks: B2)
Drums – Ricky Ball (tracks: A1 to A3, A6, B3, B4)
Electric Guitar – Eddie Hansen (tracks: A1, A3, B3, B4), Lindsay Marks (tracks: A5, B1)
Flute – Leone Toms (tracks: A3, A4)
Organ – Barry Coburn (tracks: A2), Robert Hooper-Smith (tracks: B4)
Piano – Robert Hooper-Smith (tracks: A1)
Saxophone – Barry Coburn (tracks: B1)
Tambourine – Geoff Chunn (tracks: B1)
Trumpet – Lindsay Marks (tracks: B1)
Violin [Electric] – Miles Golding (tracks: A6, B3)
Vocals, Acoustic Guitar – Lindsay Marks
Xylophone – Barry Coburn (tracks: A2)

Recorded at Stebbing Studios, Auckland.

Released with a textured lyrics insert on a ''swirl'' Vertigo label.

In 1972 it looked as though Lindsay Marks had the musical world at his feet. Friends with Split Enz, he signed to the ultra-cool Vertigo label and gained national TV exposure. Managed by Robert Raymond and Barry Coburn, Marks performed gigs constantly, in clubs, on tours and at festivals, garnering fulsome praise from the critics. Here, as they say, is how he got there and what happened next.
Marks was born in Oamaru, but his parents moved to Mt Roskill in Auckland when he was just four. His first experience as a musician was as a flugelhorn player for the Mt Eden Municipal Brass Band and then the Mt Roskill Brass Band, with practice sessions held in a hall at the quarry at Three Kings. Scoring his first guitar at age 15 ignited his passion to be a full-time musician.

Unlike his car-mad classmates in the late 1960s, Lindsay Marks was always more drawn to poetry and music writing, as well as drawing, painting and design. Like many successful musicians he was entirely self-taught, drawing his inspiration from bands such as The Kinks and The Pretty Things.

At age 19 Marks attempted a degree in architecture at University of Auckland. He became swept up in the singer-songwriter milieu of the early seventies. He recalls the 1965 album The Paul Simon Songbook being particularly influential on his early songwriting.

After a struggle with physics in particular, Marks moved over to the Auckland Institute of Technology (AIT, now AUT) studying for an NZCE and working part-time as a draughtsman.

During this time, he befriended a girl from the Central Theatre Group, a contemporary drama company run by Jivan Mary Amoore in a Remuera shopping centre alley. Amoore was a pioneer of New Zealand theatre, producing cutting edge plays such as Loot, A Day In The Death Of Joe Egg, and Kennedy’s Children, close to their international debuts. Amoore became aware of Marks’ musical ability and asked him to write and perform what ended up as 14 songs for a new play. Entitled On Our Way, the lead role in the play was taken by Marcus Craig (later known as Diamond Lil). Marks also wrote and played classical guitar pieces used in the theatre’s production of Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale; then a further 14 songs for the play Kerry.

Sitting in the audience one evening, Central Theatre Board member Max Cryer was particularly impressed by Marks: “On his taking the stage I immediately knew that he ‘had it’ – great looks, stage presence and a powerful voice”. Cryer introduced himself to Marks, whose song Good Morning was eventually included on the 1972 album Max Cryer And The Children Sing 12 Great Kiwi Tracks.

Cryer welcomed Marks to his Onehunga home as a friend and Marks recalls: “I was invited to several dinners at Max’s house. To be honest I felt somewhat out of my depth there and was a bit overwhelmed by the company, which regularly included the likes of Ray Columbus, Michael Hockley and Peter Sinclair. I kept pretty quiet and just listened to what was usually pretty highbrow conversation”. (Cryer: “Compared to the extroverts at the table Marks was noticeably calmer – he was clearly a very private person”.)

In 1971 Marks moved from his student flat in Grafton Road to new digs in Ring Terrace, St Mary’s Bay, flatting with singer Grant Bridger. Through Bridger, Marks met Australian Robert Raymond, who had recently set up a touring and management company with Barry Coburn. Raymond and Coburn saw great potential in Marks and he was signed to a stable that included Brent Parlane, Tole Puddle, and eventually, Split Enz.

Raymond suggested that Marks needed a more exotic name and suggested he adopt a new stage persona – “Martin Goodchild” – Martin being Marks’ middle name and Goodchild being a translation of his mother’s maiden name.

Marks’ first gig under this new moniker was at the Auckland Students Union. This bemused Marks and forgetting his cue to come onstage having been announced soon put paid to this idea. He career resumed under his own name.

His connections with Raymond and Coburn’s rapidly growing touring and management business saw him attending after-show parties with international stars, including Led Zeppelin. “Robert Plant was not interested in the likes of me, but I remember getting on well with John Paul Jones – he at least seemed pretty down-to-earth.”

Marks entered the TVNZ show New Faces in 1972. The format was to announce a winner each week for 10 weeks who then advanced to a final where they had to perform a different song and he won the weekly heat with his song ‘The Peace You’re Looking For’. In the final Marks performed his song ‘Son of the Sun’. Completely misunderstood by judges Phil Warren and Ray Columbus, the song became something of a gay pride anthem for many years, as Marks explains: “I’d written a song ostensibly around the David and Jonathan story in the Old Testament, but everyone seemed to read far more into the lyrics than I had intended.” Marks placed third in the final behind winner Steve Gilpin (later of Mi-Sex) and second placed Shona Laing.

‘Son of the Sun’ and ‘The Peace You’re Looking For’ became Marks’ first two singles, released on Coburn’s new label Downunder Records in 1972. Following the TV exposure both tracks achieved good airplay but not much in the way of sales. Nonetheless Raymond and Coburn were encouraged enough to proceed with an album.

Raymond and Coburn signed Marks over to PolyGram, who put Marks into the studio at Stebbing. Initially the sessions were under the guidance of arranger-musician Jimmie Sloggett, then, following his ousting from the project, by Coburn himself. Paul Woolwright, Eddie Hansen and Ricky Ball from label-mates Ticket provided backing. The self-titled album was released in 1973 on the Vertigo label, and afforded the luxury of a foldout cover with photography by Phillip Peacocke and specially commissioned artwork by Warren Wilson on the back cover.

The album was presented to PolyGram staff at their annual conference on Pakatoa Island. Marks and Shona Laing, who also had her first album Whispering Afraid ready for release, performed live at the event. The disc itself featured the legendary Vertigo “swirl” label. Marks recalls one production run of 600 only, meaning original copies are highly sought after today by “swirl” collectors and usually change hand for several hundred dollars a time.

Coburn and Raymond arranged plenty of live work in support of the album for Marks, including gigs at their recently opened Levi’s Saloon. Their touring business also provided opportunities. “I went on several long tours supporting international artists, the first of which was the New Seekers. The New Seekers themselves were quite delightful – there was plenty of champagne drinking in the motels pools! I performed solo – all originals, no covers – and was pretty well left on my own. Bob (Raymond) and Barry only occasionally flew to gigs during the tour. I travelled back to Auckland several times during the tour to fulfil commitments at Levi’s.”

Critics were certainly impressed. Writing in the Auckland Star on 9 November 1972, Phil Gifford noted (under the headline, “Marks on top but Seekers wishy-washy”): ”But in a year or two the concert is more likely to be remembered as the first major appearance in Auckland of local singer songwriter Lindsay Marks … there is no telling how far he could go. Marks seems sure to establish himself at the top of the tree at the Ngaruawahia music festival in the New Year.”

January 1973 duly saw Marks perform at the Raymond/Coburn Great Ngaruawahia Music Festival – dressed to impress as a North American Indian, bare-chested with vest and daubed in war paint!

More support work followed. Marks: “It was during an interminable tour supporting [English folk group] Lindisfarne that I started to have second thoughts about my career choice. It was basically just hard and lonely on the road as a solo artist.”

Max Cryer: “I think Lindsay probably had an aversion to the lifestyle that celebrity led to – he didn’t want to function as a public being.”

A month long residency at the Sandowner in Gisborne with country/folk–rockers Tole Puddle was next.

Marks supplemented his income writing jingles for ad agencies and recording them at studios such as Mandrill and Mascot. Marks: “This turned out to be way more lucrative than the money I was earning from touring and record sales. I remember being paid nine hundred dollars for an ad for Suzuki, which was a fortune in those days. I got Split Enz band members Tim Finn and Phil Judd to come in and sing on the ad. Some of the work came from my friend Diana Cassrell’s dad, who ran a big agency in Greys Avenue at the time. I recall ads for Fotheringay and Maidenform bras among the many I wrote and recorded!”

Marks’ career, in particular his songwriting, was beginning to blossom. Via Coburn’s international contacts Air Supply and Phillip Goodhand-Tait expressed interest in recording songs written by Marks, though Marks is unsure if these proposals were ever anything more than just conversations. In October 1973 Ray Columbus profiled Marks in his Sound-Round column in the New Zealand Listener. “We have had, and have, fine songwriters in New Zealand but few who can sing their music the way they wrote it – Lindsay, like Corben Simpson, is an exception.”

With positive encouragement from Coburn and Raymond, Marks left his part-time job as a draughtsman to take up music full-time. In 1974 he entered Stebbing studios to begin work on an EP. Three tracks were recorded (which have recently seen the light of day as bonus tracks on a digital reissue of his album) when the plug was suddenly pulled with Raymond and Coburn splitting and going their separate ways. Planning for the EP cover had even commenced with Liddy Holloway (later of Shortland Street fame) being photographed for the artwork.

Deflated, Marks felt it was time for a total rethink. Marks’ mother in particular, had always retained a keen interest in her son’s progress and it was her who suggested his next move. Marks’ parents had emigrated (his father was a socialist and conscientious objector) to New Zealand in 1939 from the East End of London. Marks’ mum had retained many contacts in London and one of her friends suggested he apply for acceptance into the prestigious St Martins School of Art & Design. He undertook a major in graphic design, funding his studies initially working as a groundsman on Hampstead Heath. In London Marks hooked up again with Lindisfarne, who through their contacts assisted in setting up several solo gigs in London during the four and a half years he spent studying for his degree.

Upon completion of his degree, Marks returned to Auckland. During this time Marks rekindled a friendship with Peter Madill, then running the Stringed Instrument Company in Browns Mill. Madill specialised in making acoustic guitars and Marks developed a keen interest in the luthier’s craft. Nonetheless Marks struggled to settle after the bright lights of London, heading back there for a further 18 months, where he worked mostly as a building labourer while attempting to build guitars in the kitchen of his flat.

By the early 1980s, Marks had gotten London out of his system. He returned to New Zealand once again, this time determined to put his degree to good use. Marks found plenty of work in the magazine and book publishing industry. He worked freelance as a pasteup artist and graphic designer for Longman Paul and Reed Methuen Publishing.

1983 saw Marks hooking up once again with Madill and working at the Stringed Instrument Company. Whilst there, Marks met seamstress and singer Martha Louise whose then husband Terence O’Neill-Joyce owned and ran Ode Recording Co. A deal was struck and a 12” single featuring two instrumental tracks, ‘Brave Face’ and ‘Three Point Turn’, was released. Marks was accompanied by Madill’s wife Cath Newhook on viola, Bob Jackson on bass and Brian Waddell (Schtung) on percussion. The covers were all hand screen-printed by Marks himself.

Marks eventually took up employment with Burnham House where he found himself working alongside Sally Hollis-McLeod and her partner Derek Ward (brother of Chris Knox’s wife Barbara Ward). All three soon found themselves in a mysterious conglomeration of musicians known as The Eric Glandy Memorial Band (an invention of both Sally and Derek), who performed a bizarre piss-taking combination of country and western music. All 10 members of the band, which included Don McGlashan and Frank Stark, adopted alternate personas and disguises when performing. Marks became Manolito Klein. Gigs were performed at the University of Auckland and even at a Centrepoint commune party before it was engulfed in controversy.

The band recorded a live album for Flying Nun in 1986 at The Lab Recording Studio with Steve Garden engineering. A crowd was formed by setting up a huge cooking pot of baked beans on the footpath and offering them free to people who ventured into the studio. Allegedly the album was one of the poorest sellers in Flying Nun’s history with as few as 40 copies reported as having been shifted. Today the album’s rarity sees it attracting top prices on auction sites.

In 1986 Marks was approached by ATI to set up what was then a pioneering course in desktop publishing, using the brand new Apple Mac machines then arriving in the country. Marks devoted the next 15 years to running and refining the course and teaching on their new graphic design degree, before deciding on a complete change of scene and moving north with his family, first to Opua, then eventually settling in Parua Bay on the Whangarei Heads.

There, in an idyllic country setting, Marks found time to pursue his love of woodworking and guitar-making and has quietly carved out a reputation as a luthier of some of New Zealand’s finest acoustic guitars. Making seven or so instruments per year, Marks gives them away rather than sells them. “The pleasure on the recipient’s faces and the constant feedback is way more reward than money.” In June and July 2015 Mark’s instruments were featured in a six-week exhibition at Objectspace in Ponsonby Road, Auckland.

Throughout the 1990s Marks continued performing and played in a variety of combos including art-rock band Entre Chiens et Loups, All This and Moore with Susie Moore, and Go Man Go with Stephen Stratford (Quote Unquote and Metro).

Today he is in a performing duo with Sam Benge, playing original music on his hand-made guitars with a jazz and latin flavour, and continues to lecture in graphic design part-time at Northtec in Whangarei.

John Hanlon - 1976 - Use Your Eyes

John Hanlon 
Use Your Eyes

01. Night Life
02. Twenty Six Years
03. Old Zachery
04. Sandy, Your Mother's In Love
05. We Can Make It
06. Cat Ramble
07. I Will Take The Sunshine
08. Peaceful
09. Hop Headed Hero
10. I Know You Can Laugh

The last album recorded in John’s short career in the 1970s it was released just as he chose to walk away from the stage. Hence the album received little promotion despite the song Nightlife winning him another COMPOSER OF THE YEAR Award. Overall it’s more acoustic and sparse than his previous efforts and contains some hidden gems. The initial vinyl pressings of this record were poor quality and the whole album was re-mastered for digital release.

John Hanlon - 1975 - Higher Trails

John Hanlon 
Higher Trails

01. Windsongs
02. Lazy Days
03. Apple Wine
04. Dog Talk
05. Higher Trails
06. Mouldy Sunday
07. Lovely Lady
08. Crazy Woman
09. I'll Be Back

This is arguably Hanlon’s best album of the 1970s in terms of sound and song quality. It featured his Number One hit Lovely Lady, the soaring Higher Trails and a raft of songs that showcased a songwriter at the top of his game supported by sensational arrangements, brilliant musicians and production standards the equal of anything recorded on the planet at that time.

John Hanlon - 1974 - Garden Fresh

John Hanlon
Garden Fresh

01. On A Hillside In The Rain
02. Damn The Dam
03. I Should Be A Bird
04. Should I Live
05. In Love/Out Of Love
06. Blue Shoes
07. Is It Natural
08. I Care
09. Why Wasn't It Me
10. The Original Hood
11. Knowing
12. Patterns

Acoustic Guitar – Dave Russel
Acoustic Guitar, Bass – Bob Jackson
Bass – Billy Kristian
Drums, Percussion – Frank Gibson Jnr
Electric Guitar – Kevin Furey
Harmonica [Blues Harp] – Tommy Adderley
Keyboards, Synthesizer [Moog] – Mike Harvey
Pedal Steel Guitar – Red McKelvie
Percussion – Bruce Morley
Tenor Saxophone – Colin Martin

Recorded at Stebbing Recording Studios (except for A2, "Damn The Dam" & B5, "Knowing" which were recorded at Mascot Recording Studios)

This was John’s breakthrough album in every sense. It contained his iconic conservationist anthems Damn the Dam and I Care and from opening thunderclap of On a Hillside in the Rain this album heralded his arrival as a Kiwi songwriter of note.

John Hanlon - 1973 - Floating

John Hanlon 

01. When Will I Write This Song
02. Platform No. 9 And Sequel
03. A Minor Occurence
04. Old Fashioned Music
05. Doomwatch
06. Puppet Master
07. Floating
08. Flight Of The Seagull
09. Shy Anne
10. Joe's Promise
11. Mickey Mouse House
12. She Laughs
13. Are You Changing Your Mind About Me

During the middle part of the 1970s, John Hanlon was as much a part of the popular-cultural scenery as the annual telethon or the Goodnight Kiwi, but for some 40 years on, few remembered him. It was as if John Hanlon never happened, although in more recent times we have rediscovered this seminal and very influential songwriter. 

We never were good at documenting, discussing, archiving and writing about and remembering figures from our pantheon of pop. And of course, that’s partly what AudioCulture is all about: redressing this lamentable situation. But John Hanlon is an extreme example, his records were not for many years available or re-released after that move to Australia, and his name and songs were left off those interminable lists and compilations of great New Zealand treasures.

When I meet John Hanlon for an epic interview in an alcove at an Auckland café, the amnesia is reinforced. He looks nothing like the hairy John Hanlon that sang and strummed his way through the 1970s. Gone are the curly mop, the carefully cultivated beard and moustache, and those trademark “square eye” glasses, replaced with a bright-eyed, clean-shaven, smart and surprisingly youthful 64-year-old. He could have been an imposter, except for the razor-sharp memory and detailed reminiscences, dotted with expletives and a refreshing candour.

Clearly, walking away from NZ’s claustrophobic music scene when he did and making a killing in advertising saved him from a much worse fate: the damaging toll on health and sanity so many musicians have faced through years of living on the breadline.

Born in Malaysia of a New Zealand dad and a Chinese mum, Hanlon was a self-confessed boarding school kid. “I came to New Zealand when I was three months old, went away when I was four, came back when I was eight, went away when I was 10 and came back when I was 15,” says Hanlon. “So I went back and forth, and spent three years in a boarding school in Western Australia, didn’t see my parents from one year to the other, and when I came back here I was socially inept and terrified of girls.”

As a shy teen, Hanlon hid away in his bedroom writing songs, but it was years before he revealed to the world what he was toiling away on. “Even years later, when a journalist asked my Mum if she knew her son was a songwriter, she rather embarrassingly said ‘Oh no, we used to know that he spent a lot of time in his bedroom doing a lot of jing and jang.’ And I said to my Mum, ‘You have no idea how that could be interpreted!’”

Like millions of other budding songwriters in the 1960s, Hanlon was inspired by The Beatles, and rather than writing his own songs, started out to learn theirs. “So I decided that I would learn to play Beatles songs, but what I found was that I was both pathologically shy and rather musically inept, and I just couldn’t learn. I just couldn’t. But I found that when I strummed a chord, tunes came out. The reason my songs are all so melodic is because I can’t write music. I just remember the tune.”

His discovery was more a twist of fate than anything. As a young advertising copywriter, Hanlon freelanced at weekends in Hamilton, and it was there that he was pushed into performing to an informal late-night gathering in 1973.  Afterwards, a man who said he owned a recording studio in Auckland approached him. It was Bruce Barton, owner of Mascot studio, who subsequently booked time for Hanlon to get demos of his tunes down on tape.

“At the end of the week of recording we had this huge pancake of tape, about 40 songs – I remember it was four boxes of tape. And on the strength of that I bought a reel-to-reel tape deck so that I could listen to myself, and I seriously thought that was [the beginning and end of] my recording career.”

Except that a few months later, he got a call from Tim Murdoch, later of WEA Records, who at this point ran the Family Records label for Pye New Zealand. Murdoch signed Hanlon to an unprecedented three album contract, and recorded his first album Floating, which caused nary a ripple.

It was ‘Damn The Dam’ a year later – written as a radio jingle for Pink Batts to lobby the government for housing insulation regulations – that proved his big breakthrough. Later adopted by the Save The Manapouri campaign, ‘Damn The Dam’ became the unofficial anthem of the then nascent environmental movement, and along the way, something of a millstone around Hanlon’s neck.

“Where people think of me as being a protest singer and standing up for various things,” says Hanlon, “the reality was that I was just voicing what a lot of people were thinking. But I was never anti-American, or anti-commerce. I was anti-nuclear. People ask me now how I feel about ‘Damn The Dam’ and I say ‘look, you called me on your mobile, and you’re taking notes on your computer, and you’ve probably got an iPod, and we’re actually using far more electricity than we did before. It’s got to come from somewhere. There’s an environmental impact with whatever you do.’”

“My best environmental song was not ‘Damn The Dam’, it was ‘I Care’, which talks about the fact that we talk about shit and we don’t do anything about it. I even allude to what we now know as climate change.”

From 1973 to 1976, Hanlon became a household name, with more hits and awards than any other NZ singer-songwriter, winning Songwriter Of The Year three times in a row at the RATA music awards, and APRA Silver Scroll awards for ‘Lovely Lady’ and the terrific progressive-folk of ‘Wind Songs’. During those years, Hanlon’s albums were chart perennials, and in 1975 with ‘Lovely Lady’ he finally cranked up his first and only No.1 smash hit.

Yet for all the success, Hanlon struggled working within the bureaucratic and censorial constraints of the government-controlled television and radio monopoly, and two of his songs were banned: ‘Is It Natural?’ for an innocuous reference to a "randy schoolboy", and ‘Crazy Woman’ for its documentarian description of a drunk prostitute attempting to solicit a priest. In real life, she said, “You could do with a root!” In Hanlon’s inoffensive song, “she offered her services to a Catholic priest, he blushed and walked away.”

From the start, his relationship with the powers that be in the entertainment department of state television was rocky.

“I ended up being very grumpy because there was only one TV channel, and I could only go on TV if I agreed to sing and dance. Do I look like a singing and dancing guy? How do you sing and dance to ‘Damn The Dam’? I pissed off (influential producer) Kevin Moore because I wanted to sit on a stool to sing my song. I was terrified to even be there. If you upset them you were gone, and I’m trying to be a songwriter in that environment. But you were expected to toe the line, and I’m just not a toe the line kind of guy.”

The claustrophobia was reinforced when he found out that his attempts to break into international markets were being sabotaged by his own record company.

“I’m getting offers from all around the world. The head of Polygram A&R came to see me in Ireland. ‘We’re going to make you famous, blah-de-blah’. But my record company owned my contract.”

Hanlon’s record company, Pye, wanted a bigger slice of the pie than anyone was willing to pay. “And of course the international record companies said ‘get stuffed!’”

His friends on the scene in Auckland at the time included members of Hello Sailor and The Human Instinct, while rock and roll trouper Tommy Adderley proved something of a mentor. But in a way, these personal/professional associations just proved a point: “I was doing a different thing.” While Hanlon was a huge fan of heavy rock bands like Cream, the songs that came out of his mouth when he sang in that instantly identifiable, Robin Gibb vibrato with a layer of sandpaper voice were closer in spirit to one of his other big influences, Donovan. The inevitability of being one of a few heart-on-sleeve singer-songwriter types in NZ was a sense of separation.

And as he became more successful, Hanlon also felt like a hit machine spewing out the same songs night after night.

“My audience changed. I’d gone from this really interesting, alert audience, to people who came to hear the hits and see the guy. And I wasn’t that guy. There was of course a backstory, which was that the woman I loved, the woman I was now married to, hated this whole thing of we could never go out anywhere.”

Originally, the plan was to temporarily step back into his advertising career, and keep chipping away at the songwriting. He never stopped writing new songs, occasionally recording them through the 1980s and 1990s, but by then his stellar career in advertising had taken over, and in Sydney, he was in a much more creatively tolerant arena than the one he had experienced in New Zealand.

Eric Dolphy - 2012 - Eric Dolphy Quartet In Europe

Eric Dolphy 
Eric Dolphy Quartet In Europe - The Complete 1961 Copenhagen Concerts

101. Don't Blame Me
102. When Lights Are Low
103. Don't Blame Me #2
104. Les
105. The Way You Look Tonight
106. Woody'n You
107. Laura

201. Glad To Be Unhappy
202. God Bless The Child
203. In The Blues [Takes 1-3]
204. Hi-Fly
205. Oleo
206. When Lights Are Low #2
207. Laura ##2
208. 52nd Street Theme

Alto Saxophone, Bass Clarinet, Flute – Eric Dolphy
Bass – Chuck Israels (tracks: 2-4), Erik Moseholm, Kurt Lindgren (tracks: CD2 add. tracks 6-8)
Drums – Jørn Elniff, Rune Carlsson (tracks: CD2 add. tracks 6-8)
Piano – Bent Axen, Ronny Johansson (tracks: CD2 add. tracks 6-8)

Tracks 1-1 to 1-4 Live at Berlingske Has, Copenhagen, Denmark, September 6, 1961.
Tracks 1-5 to 1-7 & 2-1 to 2-5 Live at Studentenforeningens Foredragssal, Copenhagen, Denmark, September 8, 1961.
Tracks 2-6 to 2-8] Live at Vastmanland-Dala Nation, Uppsala, Sweden, September 4, 1961.

Dolphy plays unaccompanied bass clarinet on “God Bless the Child”.

Omit piano, bass and drums on “Laura ##2”.

Originally appeared on three separate LPs: Eric Dolphy in Europe Vols. 1 to 3 (Prestige PR7304, PR7350 and PR7366). Tracks 2-6 to 2-8 are bonus tracks

Essential Dolphy if you don't already have it, sound quality is excellent. This 2CD compilation is an expansion of Copenhagen Concert, and contains all three live Eric Dolphy in Europe LPs (it is also available as part of the wonderful The Complete Prestige Recordings). Three bonus tracks from Uppsala are included here.

Eric Dolphy - 2001 - The Complete Uppsala Concert

Eric Dolphy 
The Complete Uppsala Concert

101. What is This Thing Called Love (Cole Porter) 4:26
102. 245 (Eric Dolphy) 20:40
103. Laura (David Raksin) 6:56
104. 52nd St. Theme (Thelonious Monk) 1:46
105. Bag's Groove (Milt Jackson) 14:07

201. Out of Nowhere (Johnny Green / Edward Heyman) 12:46
202. I'll Remember April (Don Raye / Gene Depaul / Patricia Johnston) 14:31
203. 52nd St. Theme (Thelonious Monk) 0:49
204. When Lights are Low (Benny Carter) 15:58

Eric Dolphy - alto sax, bass clarnet, flute
Rony Johanson - piano
Kurt Lindgren - bass
Rune Carlsson - drums

This two-CD set features the remarkable Eric Dolphy (tripling on alto, bass clarinet, and flute) during a concert in Sweden. Accompanied by an obscure but talented rhythm section (pianist Rony Johansson, bassist Kurt Lindgren, and drummer Rune Carlsson), Dolphy really stretches out on five of the seven numbers, particularly during a 2O and-a-half minute version of his blues "245." Other highlights include "Laura" (featuring Dolphy unaccompanied on alto), "Bag's Groove" (his only recording of that piece), and "I'll Remember April." With the exception of "245," all of the songs are bop standards, but Eric Dolphy's improvisations are typically unpredictable and adventurous. The recording quality is decent, making this a good set to get after acquiring Dolphy's better-known sessions.
Recorded at Vastmanland Dala Nation, Uppsala, Sweden at Sept. 4 1961

The band really cooks and the interplay between the drummer Rune Carlsson and Dolphy is phenomenal. Carlsson's work is quite assertive and Dolphy does not try to dominate - he supports the drum work nicely and vice versa. The reviewer who didn't think Dolphy here is at his best I suspect wasn't listening to the band as a whole or the drummer interacting with Dolphy and was really missing out on something great. Carlsson's cymbal work is just killing and his choice of cymbals suits the music wonderfully - particularly the main ride. Sound quality is not great but I'd be surprised if I would get much extra enjoyment with better sound.

Eric Dolphy - 1999 - The Illinois Concert

Eric Dolphy
The Illinois Concert

01. Softly As In A Morning Sunrise 20:17
02. Something Sweet, Something Tender 1:28
03. God Bless The Child 8:45
04. South Street Exit 7:30
05. Iron Man 10:57
06. Red Planet 12:26
07. G.W. 7:40

Bass – Eddie Khan
Drums – J.C. Moses
Flute, Bass Clarinet, Alto Saxophone – Eric Dolphy
Piano – Herbie Hancock

Recorded live at the University of Illinois in Champaign, IL on March 10, 1963.

Special thanks are extended to jazz radio producer Brian Sanders, who saved the tapes, and to Dolphy expert Alan Saul who arranged for its release.

The 1999 discovery of a previously unknown 1963 concert by Eric Dolphy makes it one of the finds of the decade. Taped for broadcast at the University of Illinois at Champaign, it was mentioned in an Eric Dolphy Internet chat room and eventually relayed to producer Michael Cuscuna. The sound is very good, except for overly prominent drums throughout the concert and an under-miked flute on "South Street Exit." Dolphy's playing is consistently rewarding, including a lengthy workout of "Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise," a miniature of "Something Sweet, Something Tender," and his always superb solo feature of "God Bless the Child." He switches to alto sax for an adventurous new work, "Iron Man" (which he would record a few months later for Douglas International), also inserting a hilarious quote of "Comin' Through the Rye." A 23-year-old Herbie Hancock on piano, Eddie Locke on bass, and drummer J. C. Moses make up the solid rhythm section. The last two tracks, "Red Planet" and Dolphy's "G.W.," add the support of the University of Illinois Brass Ensemble, which included a young Cecil Bridgewater on trumpet. Highly recommended!- ~ Ken Dryden

If you're new to Eric Dolphy, don't start here. Go buy The Complete Eric Dolphy and Booker Little Live at the Five Spot, Out to Lunch and one of the albums he did with Charles Mingus, like Mingus at Antibes or Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus. And one of the albums he did with Coltrane- I'd recommend Ole.

Anyway, if you've got the basics and are looking to expand this is a fascinating addition to your collection. Herbie Hancock on piano, an epic, oblique workout on Softly as a Morning Sunrise, a version of Red Planet (aka Miles Mode on Coltrane's albums) done with the University Woodwind Ensemble and, as a closer, G.W done with the university marching band! It's pretty cool.

I knocked a star off because the sound quality, while as good as can be expected from a 1964 college radio broadcast restored with 1999 audio technology, is still a bit bootleggy. South Street Exit is the only song that's substandard--Eric's flute is way off mike. Otherwise you get used to it pretty quickly, and the music is so amazing it more than compensates for the less than pristine, studio-quality sound.

Eric Dolphy - 1981 - Stockholm Sessions

Eric Dolphy 
Stockholm Sessions

01. Loss 3:58
02. Sorino 12:00
03. Ann 4:11
04. God Bless The Child 5:26
05. Alone 5:19
06. Geewee 6:00
07. Don't Blame Me 12:07

Alto Saxophone, Bass Clarinet, Flute – Eric Dolphy
Bass – Jimmy Woode
Drums – Sture Kallin
Piano – Knud Jörgensen, Rune Öfwerman
Trumpet – Idrees Sulieman

The first session was recorded on September 25, 1961: A1, A2, B3
The second session was recorded on November 19, 1961 for a TV special called "Eric in Town": A3, A4, B1, B2
Location for both was the Swedish Broadcast station, Stockholm.

In his brief career, Eric Dolphy found - like far too many other jazz musicians - that his fortunes fared better in Europe than in North America; hence the large number of recordings from the continent available under his name. This one is distinguished by the inclusion of a generous helping of Dolphy's own compositions, as well as by some fine playing. "Left Alone" is one of the Maestro's great flute performances, and "Serene" (in two versions here) dovetails nicely with "Geewee"(GW) and "Miss Ann" to offer a well-rounded picture of Dolphy the composer. Recommended for those already drawn to Dolphy's dark genius. Awesome stuff!

Eric Dolphy - 1978 - Berlin Concerts

Eric Dolphy 
Berlin Concerts

01. Hot House 19:04
02. When Lights Are Low 13:20
03. Geewee 2:36
04. God Bless The Child 3:15
05. Hi-Fly 14:55
06. The Meeting 5:25
07. I'll Remember April 13:00

Bass – George Joyner
Drums – Buster Smith
Flute, Bass Clarinet, Alto Saxophone – Eric Dolphy
Piano – Pepsi Auer
Trumpet – Benny Bailey

Recorded by SWF facilities.
August 30th, 1961

There's little question that Dolphy's time on the planet was too short, and the number of performances captured with tapes rolling too few, so that almost everything in the Dolphy catalog is kind of special. In 1961, Dolphy was recorded more extensively while on tour, whether stateside for the immortal Five Spot stint in July with Booker Little and co., or later in Europe for the Copenhagen and then Stockholm tours in September, or here for the "Berlin Concerts" in August (oh yeah, and don't forget the Village Vanguard dates with Coltrane in November). You can hardly argue the greatness of the Five Spot pairings with Little and bandmates Mal Waldron, Richard Davis, and Ed Blackwell -- and it's true that able sideman support was lacking for the European concerts, with most of the critical nod going to the Copenhagen run (recorded as the three-volume "In Europe" series on OJC). But the Berlin Concerts are under-rated and in the abbreviated Dolphy bag, well worth owning!

So, what do we have here? "Berlin Concerts" was taken from two gigs at the Funkturn Exhibition Hall and the Club "Jazz Salon" in Berlin on August 30, 1961 and features Dolphy with what even the liner notes describe as the "very straight-forward rhythm section" of drummer Buster Smith, bassist Jamil Nasser, pianist Pepsi Auer, and trumpeter Benny Bailey. And, unlike the scandalously short-shrifted 30+ minutes of music on each of the OJC "In Europe" discs (why the heck doesn't OJC re-release this with some consolidated packaging!?), everything's sandwiched together here for over 70 minutes of live Dolphy doing some extended blowing on all three of his virtuoso horns (flute, alto sax, bass clarinet).

The first track has Dolphy on alto sax, playing some clearly Parker-esque runs on Tadd Dameron's "Hot House," even going so far as throw in Bird's "Pop the Weasel" quote in the intro. Both Bailey and Auer are given generous solo space in the middle of this 20-minute number before Dolphy returns for a vigorous exchange in the end. It's clear that he's speaking a more advanced language here, as it is on the rest of the album. Track two has Dolphy on bass clarinet, doing the familiar "When the Lights Are Low" sans piano or trumpet. The pace is a bit slower than the first track, but alone in the spotlight, Dolphy gets into some of his more trademark explorations on what I consider his signature instrument. He's a little off-mike here, but it's pretty great stuff nonetheless, though near the end, he sounds a little haphazard. Track 3 is a tight group exploration of Dolphy's own "Geewee" -- this time recorded at the noticeably more spacious and therefore airy sounding Funkturm. The group plays the theme, Dolphy blisters through his solo on alto, Auer takes a brief one, and the group returns together before concluding at 2:47. Track 4 is the requisite bass clarinet solo version of "God Bless the Child," again sounding echo-ey in the concert hall and maybe just a little rushed (I concede it's true that the Copenhagen and even Illinois Concert versions are a bit better), but that's not to say that this isn't some pretty radical stuff for 1961 (bass clarinet solo!?). Track 5 finds Dolphy on flute for another trio number, this time on the 15-minute "Hi-fly." Joyner solos on bass in the middle, but the rest has Dolphy playing the kind of pretty but complex lines that critics compared to birdsong and without piano and trumpet intruding, his voice is really out there in the open. Pretty fantastic. The last two tracks see a return of the quintet with Dolphy on alto, first with Dolphy's "The Meeting" (played at languid pace, with sequential solos by Dolphy, Bailey, and Auer) and then with the 13-minute "I'll Remember April" in which Dolpy rips through his solo, perhaps leading to Bailey finally matching him this time with a nice horn solo to follow.

Okay, so maybe the Five Spot dates, "Out to Lunch" or "Last Date" would be the place to start for Dolphy, and maybe "Berlin Concerts" is marred by a less-able band (I find myself kind of wishing they'd just finish already when they're soloing -- it's not that they're bad, it's just not special in any way when you're wanting to hear the bearded one) and some airy-sounding acoustics on the Funkturn numbers, but this is a mean concert that features a little bit of everything and Dolphy's in pretty excellent form. And at over 70 minutes of music, with Dolphy on flute, alto, and bass clari, I just can't understand why "Berlin Concerts" doesn't enjoy wider release and acclaim. By comparison, the early OJC studio dates (Outward Bound, Out there, etc.) are pretty sedate, much of the latter day large ensemble stuff (Candid, Ironman) is just a different kind of sound, and until the "In Europe" stuff get's repackaged (if it ever does), I'd say this a great live date to own.

Charles Mingus Featuring Eric Dolphy - 1971 - Town Hall Concert

Charles Mingus Featuring Eric Dolphy 
Town Hall Concert 

01. So Long Eric
02. Praying With Eric

Cover states: Recorded at the Tyrone Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis
In reality: Recorded at Town Hall, NYC on April 4, 1964

Alto Saxophone, Bass Clarinet, Flute – Eric Dolphy
Double Bass, Composed By, Liner Notes – Charles Mingus
Drums – Dannie Richmond
Piano – Jaki Byard
Tenor Saxophone – Clifford Jordan
Trumpet – Johnny Coles

There are a lot of live recordings from 1964 made during Mingus's European tour that are of varying quality. This one was made in New York just before the tour started.  It contains just two numbers (So Long Eric and Praying With Eric) and the recording quality is superior to most of the subsequent recordings made on the tour and for that reason alone this may be the best documentation of how the band sounded at the time. What's more we have the full line-up here including Johnny Coles who was unfortunately taken ill shortly after the tour started. This was also the last appearance Eric Dolphy made in the United States before his untimely death. 
So much is demanded of the musicians who often have to play full-out and at break-neck tempos when negotiating their way around Mingus's music. Each one deals with it in his own way. 
Coles is a delicate, sensitive soloist, who uses a lot of melody and likes to bend notes in the upper register of his trumpet, he solos first and is followed by pianist Jaki Byard. He seems a little shaky at first and so he whacks out some big chords as familiar as a home-coming to the swing blues. 
Clifford Jordan dabbles a bit refusing to employ any of the usual cliches and opting for some rather abstract squeaks and squeals but knowing exactly when to create the bridge whenever the tempo suddenly switches. 
When he's through Mingus and Richmond duet, one of the greatest rhythm sections in jazz trading punches and no-one gets hurt! 
Dolphy is last up, picking out every far-flung note he can find before launching into his almost indecipherable fluid lines completely unperturbed by the impossible tempos. 
The closing theme seems to have been spliced on probably because it would otherwise have been to long for the record. 
Praying With Eric is, of course, Meditations. It's one of Mingus's greatest compositions which seems only to have been performed live and never recorded in the studio. It's a moody piece with classical pretensions. The opening section of bowed bass and piano demonstrates this and when Dolphy comes in on flute it's quite other-worldly more like a recital than a jazz performance... chamber music in fact! 
Unfortunately the music is interrupted by a very quick fade, why, i'm not quite sure. Perhaps, once again, the recording was simply too long to accommodate on vinyl. 
Anyway, it resumes with Byard's piano and soon enough Eric Dolphy has his bass clarinet out, perfectly at home yet out on a limb. The sound of the band is terrific with Byard to the left, Mingus to the right and the crisp clear sound of Dannie Richmond across the middle. 
Coles is caught out by a tempo change but covers up his embarrassment by acting as if nothing had happened. Mingus's bass solo once again quotes popular tunes. 
Jordan takes his turn over some amorphous piano chords repeating staccato riffs and fast lines. The other guys seem to throw things in at random to create a collective feel and Jordan is right on cue for the slow bit that caught Coles out. 
The opening theme returns weird and wonderful. 
Although it has its problems, this is a truly great piece and a great performance.

Eric Dolphy - 1968 - Iron Man

Eric Dolphy 
Iron Man

01. Iron Man
02. Mandrake
03. Come Sunday
04. Burning Spear
05. Ode To C.P.

Alto Saxophone – Huey Simmons
Bass – Eddie Kahn, Richard Davis
Drums – J.C. Moses
Flute – Prince Lasha
Soprano Saxophone – Clifford Jordan
Trumpet – Woody Shaw, Jr.
Vibraphone – Robert Hutcherson

From the liner notes: "This record was produced during the early part of 1964, when Eric Dolphy and producer Alan Douglas decided to experiment with Eric's original compositions. 
Two approaches were agreed upon. One was of clear simplicity; Eric on reed instruments and Richard Davis on bass. The other was more involved - a ten piece orchestra of young men who understood and admired Eric's work. 
The recording sessions took place late at night in a very relaxed studio for five successive nights. In this environment the playing of Eric Dolphy, Richard Davis and the other musicians was unbelievably inspired. So much was created, individual compositions went from 'almost commercial' to 'very far out.' 
Two albums were produced from that beautiful week. The first, called 'Conversations,' was released through FM Records (now available through the Roulette Record catalogue). On this, the second, is incorporated performances that were considered too futuristic to put out at that time."

You'd think that, given how few studio albums Dolphy released during his lifetime (let's just leave the innumerable compilations and live albums aside, at least until I've had the time to hear them), his body of work would get a pretty thorough investigation. But that's not the way it goes, unfortunately, which means that the guy's career is divided into two halves: Out to Lunch and the stuff that isn't Out to Lunch.

And, as said before, it's too damn bad. Now,  Out to Lunch is definitely the guy's best album, but I think the other stuff deserves a look, too. This in particular is a great, great release, and its greatness is just hitting me now. It's also pretty firmly avant-garde, probably Dolph's freest release. "Burning Spear" pretty much clears up any doubts about that right away - it's pure chaos, but organized, fascinating chaos, a sort of bizarre take on bebop that I think all jazz fans should hear. That's actually the name of the game for about half this album - check out the powerful title track (no, not that Iron Man. Ozzy wasn't involved, as hilarious as that mix would be), with some weird atonal sax runs that are just so damn interesting, and the lovably quirky "Mandrake." 

The ballads are pretty thoroughly out there, too. For one, neither of them has a piano. That's because there's no piano on this album, period. Which means that the conventional definition of harmony is pretty thoroughly eschewed. And their arrangements are so much different from conventional jazz arrangements, you couldn't be blamed for thinking that you were listening to a different album. "Ode to C.P.," recycled from Far Cry and in my mind largely improved upon here, is a fascinating bass-flute duet, while "Come Sunday" is the oddest Ellington cover you'll ever hear. It doesn't even sound like Ellington anymore. Some might balk at that, but I don't know, I think it's pretty awesome.

Good way to describe this one, really. Not quite as good as Out to Lunch, but it definitely belongs in the same ballpark, and deserves more credit than it gets. Check it out!

Eric Dolphy - 1966 - Here and There

Eric Dolphy 
Here and There

01. Status Seeking 11:30
02. God Bless The Child 5:16
03. April Fool 4:07
04. Don't Blame Me (Take 2) 13:30

Flute, Bass Clarinet, Alto Saxophone – Eric Dolphy
Bass – Richard Davis
Drums – Ed Blackwell
Piano – Mal Waldron
Trumpet – Booker Little
Bass – George Tucker
Drums – Roy Haynes
Piano – Jaki Byard
Bass – Erik Moseholm
Drums – Jorn Elniff
Piano – Bent Axen

A1, A2 recorded on July 16, 1961 at the Five Spot, New York City;
B1 recorded on April 1, 1960 at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs;
B2 recorded on September 6, 1961 in Berlingske Has, Copenhagen.

Compiled from several sessions, but frankly this is quite a treasure for Eric Dolphy fans. "Status Seeking" is a really interesting outtake from the sessions with Little/Waldron/Davis/Blackwell that yielded At the Five Spot, Vol. 1, so if you like that band be sure to check that tune out! "God Bless the Child" is from the same session but played solo by Dolphy on bass clarinet (one of several solo versions of that standard), very beautiful. 

"April Fool", an outtake from the Outward Bound sessions, is played pretty straightforward and has some really nice sonorities between flute and piano (Jaki Byard). The remaining "Don't Blame Me" is from a live gig in Copenhagen with local Danish musicians. (The CD version I have as part of Seven Classic Albums adds an alternate take of G.W. from Outward Bound.)

The A-Side is my pick here, but that depends on your Dolphyan taste. In any case, don't skip this one if you like the man!

The Sextet Of Orchestra U.S.A. Under The Direction Of Michael Zwerin - 1965 - Mack The Knife And Other Berlin Theatre Songs Of Kurt Weill

The Sextet Of Orchestra U.S.A. Under The Direction Of Michael Zwerin 
Mack The Knife And Other Berlin Theatre Songs Of Kurt Weill

01. Alabama Song
02. Havana Song
03. As You Make Your Bed
04. Mack The Knife
05. Bilbao Song
06. Barbara Song
07. Pirate Jenny

08. Mack The Knife [Alternate Take]
09. Bilbao Song [Alternate Take]
10. Pirate Jenny [Alternate Take]
11. The Stranger (*) Bonus Track
12. Afternoon In Paris (*) Bonus Track
13. Night Float (*) Bonus Track

Tracks #1-7 originally issued as SEXTET OF ORCHESTRA U.S.A. "Mack the Knife and other Berlin Theatre Songs of Kurt Weill" (RCA Victor LPM 3498).

Alto Saxophone, Bass Clarinet – Jerome Richardson (tracks: 4 to 10)
Alto Saxophone, Flute – Eric Dolphy (tracks: 1 to 3, 11 to 13)
Baritone Saxophone – Jimmy Giuffre (tracks: 11 to 13)
Bass – George Duvivier (tracks: 11 to 13), Richard Davis (2) (tracks: 1 to 10)
Cornet – Thad Jones (tracks: 4 to 10)
Drums – Connie Kay (tracks: 1 to 13)
Ensemble – Sextet Of Orchestra U.S.A.* (tracks: 1 to 10)
French Horn – Gunther Schuller (tracks: 11 to 13)
Guitar – Jim Hall (tracks: 11 to 13), Jimmy Raney (tracks: 4 to 10)
Liner Notes – Morton James
Piano – John Lewis (2) (tracks: 1 to 3, 11 to 13)
Tenor Saxophone – Benny Golson (tracks: 11 to 13)
Trumpet – Herb Pomeroy (tracks: 11 to 13), Nick Travis (tracks: 1 to 3)
Trumpet [Bass], Arranged By – Mike Zwerin (tracks: 1 to 10)

1-3: recorded in New York, January 10 1964.
4-10: recorded in New York, June 1 1965.
11: recorded in New York, September 8 1960.
12-13: recorded in New York, September 9 1960.

Personnel on 1-3: Eric Dolphy (as, fl), John Lewis (p), Nick Travis (tp), Mike Zwerin (b-tb, arr), Richard Davis (b) and Connie Kay (d). Recorded in New York City, on January 10, 1964

Personnel on 4-10: Thad Jones (cnt), Mike Zwerin (b-tb), Jerome Richardson (as, b-cl), Jimmy Raney (g), Richard Davis (b) and Connie Kay (d). Recorded in New York City, on June 1, 1965.

Additional material:
Track #11: Eric Dolphy (as, fl), Benny Golson (ts), Jimmy Giuffre (bs), Herb Pomeroy (tp), Gunther Schuller (flh), John Lewis (p), Jim Hall (g), George Duvivier (b) and Connie Kay (d). Arif Mardin (arr). Recorded in New York City, on September 8, 1960.

Tracks #12-13: Same as 11 except John Lewis (arr. on 12) and Gary Mc Farland (arr. on 13). Recorded in New York City, on September 9, 1960.
This release includes the complete Mike Zwerin album presenting modern jazz musicians playing the music of Kurt Weill. Eric Dolphy and John Lewis were the stars of half of this album (Dolphy died before the second session was scheduled in 1965).

The material featured on the Dolphy-Lewis studio collaborations consists mainly of compositions by Gary McFarland and John Lewis, a single track by music producer Arif Mardin and further arrangements of three theatrical tunes by Weill & Brecht, which were originally on the 1965 RCA LP “Mack the Knife and other Berlin Theatre Songs of Kurt Weill”, presented here complete with all known alternate takes.

As a bonus, this CD compiles all of the other small group studio recordings by Dolphy and Lewis playing together.

"Third Stream, Gunther Schuller's well-intentioned but commercially doomed idea of forcing contemporary classical (i.e. serial) composition music to cohabit with hard bop, produced but a handful of fine recordings, most notably the classic 1960 Atlantic "Jazz Abstractions" and this 1964 sextet outing under the stewardship of trombonist Michael Zwerin. The choice of Kurt Weill's sleek and elegant compositions was astute: the bittersweet harmonies of Weill (who ultimately emigrated to the USA from Germany) lend themselves particularly well to jazz soloing, and accordingly an outstanding rhythm section featuring the Modern Jazz Quartet's John Lewis (an enthusiastic advocate of Third Stream from its inception) and Connie Kay and bassist Richard Davis is on hand to support some splendid horn work from Thad Jones, Nick Travis, Jerome Richardson and most notably Eric Dolphy, whose wild bass clarinet leaps on "Alabama Song" are a pure joy to hear, and proof that the saxophonist's harmonic concept, while undeniably "out" for the standard-based harmonic repertoire of bop was most definitely "in" the wider scheme of musical thought that Third Stream aspired to."

Dan Warburton 

Eric Dolphy & Booker Little - 1964 - Memorial Album Recorded Live At The Five Spot

Eric Dolphy & Booker Little
Memorial Album Recorded Live At The Five Spot

01. Number Eight 16:00
02. Booker's Waltz 14:15

Alto Saxophone, Bass Clarinet – Eric Dolphy
Bass – Richard Davis
Drums – Eddie Blackwell
Piano – Mal Waldron
Trumpet – Booker Little

Recorded at New York summer 1961. Printed in 1964.

This is essentially Eric Dolphy at the Five Spot Volume Three, sadly released after the untimely deaths of both Dolphy and the young and dazzling trumpeter Booker Little. Clearly these are the lesser performances from the set. They still pack some pop. "Number Eight" is the better of the two performances, featuring great solos by Dolphy and Ed Blackwell on drums. The waltz on Side Two is a little too goofy for its own good at times. Dolphy's bass clarinet solo lacks the sizzle of the alto solo on "Number Eight." Dolphy completists will no doubt already have this. But for those slightly less enthusiastic, Dolphy's music always delivers something magical, and this Memorial Album does too.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Eric Dolphy - 1964 - Out To Lunch

Eric Dolphy 
Out To Lunch

01. Hat And Beard 8:21
02. Something Sweet, Something Tender 6:01
03. Gazzelloni 7:18
04. Out To Lunch 12:05
05. Straight Up And Down 8:18

Alto Saxophone, Flute, Bass Clarinet – Eric Dolphy
Bass – Richard Davis
Drums – Anthony Williams
Trumpet – Freddie Hubbard
Vibraphone – Bobby Hutcherson

Recorded at Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ; February 25, 1964.

Eric Dolphy is one of the most infamous/influential figures in the history of jazz. His brand of jazz was not rooted in blues but in classical music, hence his compositions and his playing technique taking on a more angular approach. As a result, he was criticized for not being "jazz enough" and the music being too sophisticated. Regardless of the criticism, Dolphy created a new identity of jazz: One that blends steady/catchy rhythms with highly abstracted harmony and melody (extremely difficult for musicians to do.) Out to Lunch is perhaps his most fully realized effort.

Out to Lunch is considered to be a masterpiece of jazz music, specifically in avant-garde jazz. In close introspection, it isn't as avant-garde, as say for example, John Coltrane's Om or Cecil Taylor's Unit Structures. Its avant-garde nature is more along the lines of Andrew Hill's Judgement! and Ornette Coleman's The Shape of Jazz to Come. It's a cusp record: It straddles between avant-garde and tonal bebop harmony, which gave Out to Lunch its reputation and legacy.

But, as with the majority of avant-garde music, it can be challenging to get into at first. In standard avant-garde/experimental fare, you'll need to put down your conceptions of music, have an open mind, and listen to it to see if it resonates or not.

On to the music itself, the album opens with what may be the most famous composition on here, "Hat and Beard." This is Dolphy's tribute to jazz legend Thelonious Monk (Monk had a distinctive appearance, as he was known to wear sunglasses, hats, and a beard to go with it. Hence, Hat and Beard.) Right away, the composition starts with a somewhat odd rhythm with brief flashes of vibraphones and a rolling bassline. After a few moments, the main theme is introduced.* In standard Dolphy language, the theme is disorienting but melodic enough to follow the sense of rhythm and swing in the composition. After the theme comes the solos. Dolphy breaks into his style of improvisation: Wide intervals, replete with rapid runs and trills in between, laced with animal-like effects, such as squawking, honking, bleeting, and many more I could mention. These techniques give Dolphy's sound a more light-hearted, humorous feel to it.
After comes Freddie Hubbard, who in contrast to Dolphy's solo, has a more serious sounding solo filled with runs and trills but without the animal effects.
Next is Bobby Hutcherson. His solo is rather unique since he is contrasting with Tony Williams.
(To detract quickly, the effect of their playing sounds reminds me of the sounds of raindrops, with Williams' thin, scratchy attacks and Hutcherson's full-on chordal attacks going against each other.)
We're now back to the theme once more, and after one more reiteration of the bridge, the piece closes out with Dolphy's bass clarinet fading out.

The next piece is "Something Sweet, Something Tender".
The shortest piece on the album, this is perhaps the most rhythmically free piece on here. In the introduction, Dolphy takes a more ballad-like melody (albeit in his style) backed up by Richard Davis' bowed bass, giving a somewhat intense feel to it. After the intro, everyone plays the theme. It has a meditative quality overall.
One noted aspect is Davis' bass. This is his spotlight, as he freely moves around while everyone else works around the theme.
Another noted aspect is Tony Williams' drums. For the most part, they are subdued to the background or they are absent.
The full band overall seem separated from each other and only come together in the theme. An interesting contrast to "Hat and Beard.

Next is "Gazzelloni". Named after the famed Italian flutist (whom Dolphy was among his pupils). The most bebop-like tune, this gets right to the point. A few hints of the theme appears, then quickly disintegrates into improvisation.
Here, Dolphy demonstrates his flute playing. This time, his animal-like sounds resemble the sounds of birds (very atonal ones, if you ask me).
The highlight of "Gazzelloni" is the interaction between Williams' shifting drum pulses and Hutcherson's rapid vibraphone runs.

Next is the title track. The longest track of the album, this is the most avant-garde piece. Dolphy switches to alto saxophone for this performance. Just about everyone here is off on their own tangent, yet keeping it together.
One highlight on here occurs about six minutes in, when the rhythm slows down and Hutcherson displays his virtuoso vibraphone playing. Again, Hutcherson and Williams provide an interesting contrast to each other, giving each other space while Davis fills in the cracks with his bass.
Then, Davis takes a bass solo. For a few split minutes, the atmosphere gets quiet as you focus on his bass, when suddenly, Dolphy comes crashing down, then Williams picks up the rhythm again, with Hubbard dropping in and out. After a brief drum solo, we head back to the main theme and the piece concludes.

The final piece is "Straight Up and Down." According to the liner notes, it is said that it's supposed to represent a drunken stagger (which can be said for the entire album). So in this respect, this is the most humorous piece of the album.
After a few iterations of the theme, Dolphy goes off, followed by Hubbard. Meanwhile in the rhythm, Williams is again shifting rhythms and pulses, Davis is in the distance, and Hutcherson fills in here and there, up front and in the background.
Towards the end, Hutcherson does his masterful fills while Williams slows down and speeds up, adding this feeling of thick texture slowly adding itself together (or collapsing, however you see it). The atmosphere gets quiet, then suddenly Dolphy and Hubbard explode with a five-note run with an added vibraphone hit. We're back to the theme. After a few iterations, the bass and drums fade out, with one final vibraphone hit and the piece (as well as the album) has concluded.

After the recording of Out to Lunch, Eric Dolphy went to Europe to tour with Charles Mingus in a widely acclaimed tour. Sadly, these concerts would turn out to be Dolphy's last ever, as he died of a diabetic coma at age 36, making Out to Lunch his last ever album. Eric Dolphy became one of the very many musicians who seemed to have died just as their music was starting to become fully realized, leaving us with a what-if scenario.

In conclusion, I rate Out to Lunch five stars. Its use of atypical harmonies, off-kilter melodies, revolving rhythms, and its use of tension, release, and dynamics is without a doubt a fascinating combination. What I really enjoy is the mixing of jazz with classical and avant-garde. As I mentioned earlier, making a composition or an album that is both catchy and experimental is a very difficult achievement for musicians, as it usually tends to be one or the other.
Because of Dolphy's death occuring soon afterwards, this is the highest of his achievements and we can only wonder was bound to be next.

Eric Dolphy - 1964 - At The Five Spot Volume 2

Eric Dolphy 
At The Five Spot Volume 2

01. Agression 17:23
02. Like Somebody In Love 19:59

Bonus Tracks on CD
03. Number Eight (Potsa Lotsa) 15:33
04. Booker's Waltz 14:39

Bass – Richard Davis
Drums – Eddie Blackwell
Flute, Bass Clarinet – Eric Dolphy
Piano – Mal Waldron
Trumpet – Booker Little

Recorded July 16, 1961

The band featured here (Dolphy, Mal Waldron on piano, Richard Davis on bass, Ed Blackwell on drums, trumpeter Booker Little) seems to click better than some of Dolphy's other small ensembles. Everyone seems firmly attached to the 'strange but catchy' aesthetic, in that no matter how 'out' the music gets, elements rooted in 'bop' remain for the listener to latch onto. Granted, that loose definition could apply to a number of post-bop jazz records from the early 60s, but even within post-bop the man has his own unique style.

"Aggression" unquestionably has to be one of the high points of Dophy's career. He's an absolute beast during his solo, his bass clarinet hiccuping and squealing and buzzing throughout the lower registers, then after a bit he finds new ways to shriek melodically in the higher registers. Following this, Waldron realizes he can't possibly compete with Little's or Dolphy's speed/invention so he takes a COMPLETELY different approach and manages to be just as exciting. He starts with some simple chord phrasing, then his left hand starts repeatedly climbing up the same keys while his right hand sticks to the same four or five notes - but he's determined to hit every combination of these notes, changing the order, attacking them in different ways, then finally he moves onto another cluster and gets more and more angry as he goes along. Davis and Blackwell get into the aggressive spirit too and their solos are, if not as interesting, just as energetic as Little/Dolphy/Waldron.

On side B, "Like Someone in Love" isn't is great (how could it be?), though the beginning definitely exemplifies Dolphy's approach to covering standards. They play the head as freely as they can without completely losing sight of the melody. Blackwell sits out, Davis' bass strays from the chordal structure right away, Little is the only one sticking to what's written (MOST of the time, not all), while Dolphy (on flute) harmonizes beautifully at the beginning but soon starts to play his own fractured ideas, separate from everyone else. Overall, it's a bit more on the ordinary side and the solos aren't as incredible (though Dolphy gets in some fine moments) but still a nice tune.

Eric Dolphy - 1963 - Conversations

Eric Dolphy 

01. Jitterbug Waltz 7:05
02. Music Matador 9:05
03. Alone Together 13:30
04. Love Me 3:25

Track 1
Eric Dolphy - Flute
Woody Shaw - Trumpet
Bobby Hutcherson - Vibes
Eddie Khan - Bass
J.C. Moses - Drums

Track 2
Eric Dolphy - Bass Clarinet
Prince Lasha - Flute
Sonny Simmons - Alto Sax
Clifford Jordan - Soprano Sax
Richard Davis - Bass
Charles Moffett - Drums

Track 3
Eric Dolphy - Alto Sax

Track 4
Eric Dolphy - Bass Clarinet
Richard Davis - Bass

Re-released in 1964 as The Eric Dolphy Memorial Album

In mid-1963 (probably July, though some sources place the dates in May or June), Eric Dolphy recorded some sessions in New York with producer Alan Douglas, the fruits of which were issued on small labels as the LPs Conversations and Iron Man. They've been reissued a number of times on various labels, occasionally compiled together, but never with quite the treatment they deserve (which is perhaps why they're not as celebrated as they should be). In whatever form, though, it's classic, essential Dolphy that stands as some of his finest work past Out to Lunch. Conversations is the more eclectic of the two, featuring radical re-imaginings of three standards, plus the jubilant, Caribbean-flavored "Music Matador" (by ensemble members Prince Lasha [flute] and Sonny Simmons [alto]). That cut and a classic inside/outside reworking of Fats Waller's "Jitterbug Waltz" feature Dolphy leading ensembles of up-and-coming "new thing" players, which prominently feature vibist Bobby Hutcherson and trumpeter Woody Shaw. The second half of the album takes a far more minimalist approach, with Dolphy performing unaccompanied (extremely rare prior to Anthony Braxton's For Alto) on "Love Me." "Alone Together" is an over-13-minute duet between Dolphy and bassist Richard Davis, featuring some astoundingly telepathic exchanges that more than justify its length. Even if the selections don't completely hang together as an LP statement, they're united by Dolphy's generally brilliant playing and a sense that -- after several years without entering the studio much as a leader -- Dolphy was really striving to push his (and others') music forward. The results are richly rewarding, making Conversations one of the landmarks in his catalog. 

Conversations reveals Eric Dolphy during a transitional period in his development as a band leader. This semi-obscure album, released on the short-lived FM label (and reissued after his untimely death as The Eric Dolphy Memorial Album), features Dolphy's first studio collaborations with bassist Richard Davis, and the results are immediate. Davis' elastic runs create more space for Dolphy and his bandmates to improvise. This widely varied album has two completely different sides. Side One features a larger group (including vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson), and both tracks are rather jaunty. Dolphy's selection of "Music Matador" is a bit of a head-scratcher and is almost cheesy save for a solid bass clarinet solo. Side Two is where Dolphy earns his paycheck. "Love Me" is a brief, but dynamic solo performance, arguably the best one he ever recorded. This is followed by the awe-inspiring "Along Together," which is an unusual low-end duet between Dolphy (on bass clarinet) and Davis. At times, Dolphy's woodwind imitates the droning sounds of the didgeridoo. Due to the rather bifurcated nature of the album, it is not as splendid as the other LP to eventually arise from these sessions, Iron Man. Because of the haunting, explosive, introspective nature of the Side Two material, it was easily his best solo studio album to date at the time of its release.

In 1963 (probably July, though some sources place the dates in May or June), Eric Dolphy recorded some sessions in New York with producer Alan Douglas, the fruits of which were issued on small labels as the LPs Conversations and Iron Man. They've been reissued a number of times on various labels, occasionally compiled together, but never with quite the treatment they deserve (which is perhaps why they're not as celebrated as they should be). In whatever form, though, it's classic, essential Dolphy that stands as some of his finest work past Out to Lunch. Conversations is the more eclectic of the two, featuring radical re-imaginings of three standards, plus the jubilant, Caribbean-flavored "Music Matador" (by ensemble members Prince Lasha on flute and Sonny Simmons on alto). That cut, and a classic inside/outside reworking of Fats Waller's "Jitterbug Waltz" feature Dolphy leading ensembles of up-and-coming "new thing" players, which prominently feature vibist Bobby Hutcherson and trumpeter Woody Shaw. The second half of the album takes a far more minimalist approach, with Dolphy performing unaccompanied (extremely rare prior to Anthony Braxton's For Alto) on "Love Me." "Alone Together" is an over-13-minute duet between Dolphy and bassist Richard Davis, featuring some astoundingly telepathic exchanges that more than justify its length. Even if the selections don't completely hang together as an LP statement, they're united by Dolphy's generally brilliant playing and a sense that -- after several years without entering the studio much as a leader -- Dolphy was really striving to push his (and others') music forward. The results are richly rewarding, making Conversations one of the landmarks in his catalog.