Academic journal article Notes

The Best of Eric Dolphy

Academic journal article Notes

The Best of Eric Dolphy

Article excerpt

Eric Dolphy. The Best of Eric Dolphy. Prestige PRCD-5708-2, 2004.

In early 2004, the Fantasy Jazz label group (a family that now includes such illustrious imprints as Prestige, Milestone, Riverside, and Contemporary, as well as the great soul labels Specialty and Stax) began releasing a series of mid-priced "best of" compilations, all dedicated to the usual suspects: Miles Davis, Art Pepper, Bill Evans, Kenny Burrell, and Thelonious Monk, among others. While retrospective collections of this sort have been easy enough to find in record stores for years, few companies are as well positioned as Fantasy to do them just right, and that is exactly what it has done with this particular series. While one could argue that these discs really ought to be released at budget (seven or eight dollars) rather than midline pricing, there is in most cases no arguing with the content or with the added value of the new essays included in the liner notes. The Best of Eric Dolphy is a case in point: drawing on recordings made during what most would agree are the two most significant years of his career (1960 and 1961), the program includes examples of his novel use of bass clarinet (on "Booker's Waltz" and on his own lovely composition "Serene") and his flute playing (on a slightly out-of-tune rendition of "Glad to Be Unhappy") as well as the John Coltrane-influenced alto saxophone technique for which he was most famous. …

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