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Eric Dolphy at the Five Spot Vol. 1 Live

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Audio CD, Live, October 7, 1991
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

If you want to get a taste of Eric Dolphy live then this is the set to get. Certainly the Coltrane Village Vanguard sessions featuring Dolphy are masterpieces; however, he has more room to blow in this setting. Dolphy, for all his unique and decidedly individual style, was a remarkably emphatic player. His associations with Coltrane and Charles Mingus, and here with Mal Waldron, are truly special instances of jazz players complimenting and enriching each other's playing. Dolphy and Waldron are joined here by Booker Little, Richard Davis, and Ed Blackwell. This is a band of masters on a hot night. It's joyous listening. --Michael Monhart
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 7, 1991)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Live
  • Label: Original Jazz Classics
  • ASIN: B000000Y7P
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #363,546 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 7, 2000
Format: Audio CD
This cd is the first three main recordings to feature this quintet's stay at the Five Spot cafe in 1961. The other releases featuring this set are vol. 2 and the Memorial Album. It also has been released in piecemeal fashion on various records and cds as well as the massive Complete Prestige Recordings boxed set. The stellar line up is full of lesser known musicians, but these are some of the heavyweights of their craft. Dolphy is heard on alto sax and bass clarinet, Mal Waldron on piano, Richard Davis on bass, Ed Blackwell on drums, and the near forgotten Booker Little on trumpet, he died just three months after this date at only 23! The music on this cd is comprised of three lengthy originals, and one alternate take, which allow the soloists to stretch out and really burn, and burn they do! It is easy to find recordings of Dolphy tearing up solos on alto sax, bass clarinet, clarinet, or even flute, but it is hard to think of a session where he does it with such fire! His alto solos on Waldron's Fire Waltz and his own The Prophet are perfect examples of his near vocalization of notes. His bass clarinet solo on Little's Bee Vamp will open new ears to a unique sound on a unique solo instrument. Booker Little solos with fire and a beautiful tone, his idea's are a near match for Dolphy's wild musical imagination. Hearing Little here makes one wonder what may have been had he lived longer! Mal Waldron shines on his solo on Bee Vamp. Alot is written about his out of tune piano, but it somehow fits right into his unique style, as well as that of the leadmen. With no room for Richard Davis' flawless bass work or Ed Blackwell's unorthidox drumming to stretch and solo, one is still struck by the fluid but solid foundation they set for this outstanding live date. If one is looking for an introduction to the unbelieveable sound and talent of Eric Dolphy, I highly recommend this is the place to start!
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35 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Pharoah S. Wail VINE VOICE on January 15, 2001
Format: Audio CD
My opinions of this cd run hot and cold. It's worth getting but I don't consider it to be a truly essential Dolphy recording to own. I think part of this is due to the sound. Davis is an excellent bass player but he is so low in the mix on this cd that you never get a chance to find out how good he is.
I must make special mention of Mal Waldron's piano playing. I agree with one of the previous reviewers who said that the out-of-tune piano actually works in this setting. Waldron has such a unique way of constructing his solo's. Sometimes when I listen to him I almost feel like he knows exactly what he will be playing 1 minute from now. His solo's aren't just licks played over the tunes. Every idea he has is rooted in what he just played. Whereas some players seem to play so "in this moment" that they seem to disregard what they played 15 seconds ago, all of Waldron's idea's seem to keep building, repeating, mutating, and twisting out of the things he just played. One of the truly underrated players of his generation. He shines on this cd from beginning to end.
I guess my main complaint about this cd would be that, aside from Waldron's superbly constructed solo's, this cd is really just an elongated blowing session. Whereas something like Andrew Hill's "Point Of Departure" (of which Dolphy is a huge part) is a cohesive band playing and delving into the heart and soul of the compositions, the band on this cd is just taking turns soloing. Sometimes the solo's seem to be based in the feel of the tune, sometimes they don't. In one sense though that in itself makes this an important document of this period of Dolphy and Little's development. I think at this time they were both still very much working and extending on their own idea's of what they could do.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Matt Bailey on December 6, 2004
Format: Audio CD
From the first minute of the album I was hooked. Eric Dolphy is probably my favorite altoist at the moment, and always one of my top 5 saxophonists, and he is in brilliant form here. His tone is crisp, his lines as fiery and sharp as ever, and he has a wonderful rapport with his supporting cast. Dolphy makes the album worth it by himself.

Fortunately, with this supporting cast, he doesn't need to do it all by himself. Credit must be given to Eddie Blackwell on drums, bassist Richard Davis, and pianist Mal Waldron. Blackwell came of age with Ornette Coleman, and jazz has rarely seen a more underappreciated drummer. While not as flamboyant or extroverted as the other leading drummers of the 60's (Tony Williams and Elvin Jones comes to mind) Blackwell has a kind of light subtlety that other drummers lack...he is free and inventive with his time, and defines the word "crisp." Richard Davis of course was one of the foremost bassists of the era, and Mal Waldron shines not only as a logical, thoughtful soloist on piano but a solid composer, contributing the magnificent "Fire Waltz."

And Booker Little? Jazz is full of stories of men dying before their time: Clifford Brown, Albert Ayler, Fats Navarro, Lee Morgan, Eric Dolphy himself, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane. Put Booker on that list, near the top. The amount of recordings this brilliant trumpeter left for us is small, but worth every minute of it. If he had lived longer, he would have become the leading trumpet of the times, the biggest since Clifford Brown (in my opinion.) Some readers my differ on that, but the mere fact that I am asserting such a claim shows what a tremendous talent Little was. Nothing more needs to be said about him.
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Eric Dolphy at the Five Spot Vol. 1
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