Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

Consumer Guide:
  User's Guide
  Grades 1990-
  Grades 1969-89
  Expert Witness
Books:
  Going Into the City
  Consumer Guide: 90s
  Grown Up All Wrong
  Consumer Guide: 80s
  Consumer Guide: 70s
  Any Old Way You Choose It
  Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough
Writings:
  CG Columns
  Rock&Roll& [new]
  Rock&Roll& [old]
  Music Essays
  Music Reviews
  Book Reviews
  NAJP Blog
  Playboy
  Blender
  Rolling Stone
  Billboard
  Video Reviews
  Pazz & Jop
  Recyclables
  Newsprint
  Lists
  Miscellany
Bibliography
NPR
Web Site:
  Home
  Site Map
  What's New?
Carola Dibbell:
  Carola's Website
  Archive
Venues:
  Noisey
CG Search:
Google Search:
Twitter:

Eric Dolphy

  • The Berlin Concerts [Inner City, 1978] A
  • The Best of Eric Dolphy [Prestige, 2004] A

Consumer Guide Reviews:

The Berlin Concerts [Inner City, 1978]
Two astonishing sides and two more than adequate ones, all recorded in 1961. "Hi-Fly" is a feature for flute, an instrument not even Dolphy can induce me to get passionate about, and "When Lights Are Low" is playful to the point of waggishness. But the 19-minute version of Tadd Dameron's "Hot House," with Dolphy on alto and Benny Bailey on trumpet, is a fluent, unselfconscious synthesis of bebop and "free jazz" that sounds entirely up-to-the-minute in 1979. And the bravura exchanges on "I'll Remember April" will make your favorite guitar hero seem a slowhand indeed. A

The Best of Eric Dolphy [Prestige, 2004]
Dolphy shared John Coltrane's taste for the ecstatic without ever abandoning bebop-style, European-harmony-based cogitation. Not a drinker or a druggie, he died at 36 of insulin shock after a diabetes attack. His tenure at Prestige lasted from April 1960 to September 1961 and is all available in one huge box. Nine CDs' worth of quality music in 17 months, plus Ornette's Free Jazz, Coltrane's Live at the Village Vanguard, and other major guest shots. A year later, he left his mark on me at the Village Gate, Labor Day '62 I think it was, when he encored with Coltrane--on alto? bass clarinet? surely not flute--and blew my head off. In a sense I've been trying to return to that night ever since, but though I've gotten close a few times, it was never via Dolphy (in fact, never via jazz). I dug the box, hell yeah. But there's more use value in the way his superb bands, striking heads, and unfettered improvisations fill this single disc--even his flute. A