Eric Dolphy At the five-spot: Vol.s 1, 2 (and Memorial Album?)

Since these are from the Vault: Let’s Get To It!

“Bee Vamp,” sounds like the theme to The Price is Right— very little structure over that two chord vamp, both the first and the alternate take vibe like long-time friends with a lot of time, laid out, playing their tunes together, enjoying the no pressure. Late late night jazz.

“Fire Waltz” my favorite, a drunkenly-swaggering riff, seemingly inspired, cooked up at the last moment, so Eric, Booker, Mal, Richard and Eddie can let it hang out.

“The Prophet,” (perhaps appropriately) swaggers even more drunkenly (as the evening wears on…?) and is somewhat more maudlin yet happy… dig that bass clarinet– at 4:45 the boldy jagged lines that stop and start on a dime, on a yen, on a picayune…

Buy it or listen….

Live at the Five Spot II— opens with “Aggression,” a 17 minute jam– a scattered, frantic hard-bop-ish workout… unremarkable for Dolphy but worth hearing for anyone else…. “Like Someone In Love” starts with nervous chit chat, piano, then flute and trumpet and bass… a somber, almost respectful opening for a few minutes, tentative,  almost like it’s feeling out an audience at a wake… “are they grave mourners or gay ones…?”… at 2:45 drums and piano back in, clearing away space for the flute (and Dolphy’s sharp inbreaths) to center-stage it for a second– then errbody comes in.

It’s now almost jaunty, sad but with an optimism –bittersweet?– maybe soursweet… by 10:00 it trots, softly with confidence…

“Number Eight (Potsa Lotsa)” and everything is back to mercurial staff-writer Dolphy and his effluvian licks…. “Booker’s Waltz” bounces like something out of Moulin Rouge… a strutting,  whirling merry-go-’round of a melody….

It’s a gay ol’ time, right up to the end….


Memorial Album contains the identical recordings of “Number Eight (potsa lotsa)” and “Booker’s Waltz” that were described above. The former lists as being about a minute longer than the track on Vol. 2, but it’s only crowd noise. If you have Vol. 2, you don’t need this one.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s