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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000128.txt from 1995/01

From: Alan Saul <saul+@-----.EDU>
Subj: Re: Jazz Bass clarinetists
Date: Sun, 8 Jan 1995 00:19:47 -0500

Mike Cassara wrote:

>Eric Dolphy did a lot of great bass playing. His album Out to Lunch is a
>standard part of any jazz listening library. His chops on flute, sax, and
>bass clarinet are incredible. He played a lot of bass after Coltrane died
>and he was on his own.

I just wanted to note for the sake of not perpetuating something that is in
error that Eric died in 1964, 3 years before Trane. Although Eric and Trane
played together a number of times (starting in the 50s when Trane came
through LA, everybody hung out in Eric's studio there) Eric was by no means
not on his own before or while he played with John. In fact, Eric started
playing bass in the early 50s because of his curiosity and the influence of
one of his teachers, and perhaps because he saw it as an additional
instrument that might get him his dream of playing in a symphony orchestra.
The first known recording of him on bass clarinet is from 1958, with Chico
Hamilton. Most of his playing with Chico was actually on soprano clarinet,
an instrument which is only represented a few times after 1959.

A few of his many bass clarinet recordings that give some flavor of his
playing include any of the performances of "Serene", his duet with Charles
Mingus on the Candid "What Love", "Ralph's New Blues" on Oliver Nelson's
Straight Ahead, Booker Little's "Bee Vamp" from the 5 Spot date, any of his
unaccompanied "God Bless The Child" recordings, the 1961 European "When
Lights Are Low" takes, the "Naima"s with Coltrane, "Burning Spear" from the
Iron Man date, the "Come Sunday" duet with Richard Davis, and the monstrous
music from the 1964 Mingus tour.

There is a fairly complete discography at

Vladimir Simosko's wonderful biography/discography of Dolphy (upon which
the above discography is based) is due to come out in a new edition from Da
Capo Press any day now.

Alan Saul

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