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Eric Dolphy

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Artist's Top Tracks

Ralph's New Blues Eric Dolphy 09:54
Caribé The Latin Jazz Quintet, Eric Dolphy 10:08
Six And Four Oliver Nelson, Eric Dolphy 07:14
Gazzelloni Eric Dolphy 07:23
Hat And Beard Eric Dolphy 08:24
Far Cry Eric Dolphy, Booker Little 03:56
Cascades Oliver Nelson, Eric Dolphy 05:31
Something Sweet, Something Tender Eric Dolphy 06:03
Serene Eric Dolphy, Booker Little 06:37
Glad To Be Unhappy Eric Dolphy 06:17

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Hat And Beard
Something Sweet, Something Tender
Gazzelloni
Out To Lunch

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Biography

Despite his death at a young age, Eric Dolphy was a pioneering free-jazz star whose wild, expressive reed-playing took be-bop down thrilling new avenues in the 1950s and '60s and influenced generations that followed.

Born in Los Angeles to immigrants from Panama, he started playing the clarinet at the age of six and became obsessed with jazz after discovering Fats Waller, Duke Ellington and Coleman Hawkins while playing in high school orchestras. He earned a music scholarship to the University of Southern California when he was just 13, before studying at the City College under the guidance of band leader Lloyd Reese and classical flautist Elise Moennig, cutting his teeth with Roy Porter's big band.

A successful spell touring with Chico Hamilton's sextet led to him moving to New York in 1959, where his career took off with sideman sessions for greats like Charlie Mingus, John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman. His debut recording as a band leader was full of regulation be-bop grooves on 'Outward Bound' in 1960, but he really started letting loose and experimenting when he teamed up with trumpeter Booker Little on albums 'Far Cry' and 'Out Front'. The joyous, volcanic signature sound of his alto saxophone and bass clarinet further came to life on live album 'At the Five Spot' in 1961 and he showed off his mastery of the flute with performances of contemporary French composer Edgard Varese's works and recordings with modern jazz arranger John Lewis. He also worked with Freddie Hubbard, Max Roach and Andrew Hill before his 1964 Blue Note album 'Out to Lunch' captured his expressive energy, flawless technique, elegant phrasing and avant-garde, improvised ideas and became regarded as one of the landmark free-jazz records of the era. Sadly he headed to Europe on tour with Charlie Mingus soon afterwards, and it was there that his undiagnosed diabetes led to him slipping into a coma. He died in Berlin aged 36.