Week 5: Eric Dolphy Live November 1, 1961
It’s been a while since I’ve posted on my Track of the Week. The activities of Afrodaddy’s Jazz Club has advanced so richly that my time is stretched across many aspects of small business ownership. The tasks of a woman of color taking on cultural dynamics of curating live jazz in Portland’s music scene has had its challenges and tremendous victories! Although it is my love of live recording that inspires my vision and feeds my unselfish motive too add to PDX’s live jazz legacy. And has led me to share a track from Coltrane The Complete 1961 Village Vanguard Recordings released on September 23, 1997 by Impulse Records.
Since 1959, the track Naima has become a classic Coltrane ballad and has been played by many greats throughout the years. One of my favorites is with the playful Jaco with Rashied Ali in 1984 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJ2Lm1e8lbM ) Oh!!!
Although it wasn’t until I’d heard the live track with Eric Dolphy at the Village Vanguard that I’d truly began to appreciate the beauty in Trane’s composition and Dolphy’s range on the Bass Clarinet. I’ve always believed Trane may have unknowingly wrote this tune for the instrument or the bass clarinet just so happens to be in B flat. Lol you decide... Either way, Dolphy’s earthy and rich tone of advanced harmonies are captivating and seductive.
Trane’s introduction on this track is just a cleansing of the hearing palate as Dolphy begins to take charge of the right channel. Dolphy races in to express an apology and/or thank you call with an irresistible tempo. I love the skillful play of the rhythm section. McCoy Tyner cannot help but fill in the gaps as if he is a voice to reason. A sensual throwing and catching of reluctant afterthought or well positioned forethought, you decide…lol. This well documented example of Black male energy in sound is a beautiful thing to testify too. Either way Tyner gracefully enters the dialogue while Reggie Workman’s repeated plucks try to fool you. Oh!!! All the while, Elvin Jones sits posted in a classic pick and roll status! This track is a fundamental example of collective charisma demonstrated as one! And yet very, very, very difficult to replicate!! This track will always go down as Dolphy favorite!