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Musical Prophet: The Expanded 1963 New York Studio Sessions (3 Cd)
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Audio CD, Import, 25 January 2019
- Product Dimensions : 12.6 x 14.61 x 1.7 cm; 199.86 Grams
- Manufacturer : RESONANCE RECORDS
- Original Release Date : 2019
- Label : RESONANCE RECORDS
- ASIN : B07HQ7LJQ2
- Number of discs : 3
- Best Sellers Rank: 9,171 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Musical Prophet: The Expanded 1963 New York Studio Sessions is the first official release of previously-unissued Eric Dolphy studio recordings in over 30 years! This release contains the masterpiece albums Conversations and Iron Man recorded in NYC in July, 1963. The 3CD set features jazz greats such as saxophonist Sonny Simmons, trumpeter Woody Shaw, bassist Richard Davis and NEA Jazz Master vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson. The 100 pg.booklet includes rare and unpublished photos, essays and interviews.
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It's fascinating to hear, for example, how the solo alto piece evolved. The first take seems to end mid-phrase, as if Dolphy hadn't considered how to finish. Until then, of course, his playing is great. The second take ends more decisively, but there are a couple of glitches while Dolphy is playing high notes and, I suspect, he decided that he could do even better. The third take, which is the one originally issued, kicks off with a quotation from the opening of the slow movement of Debussy's Violin Sonata, and this seems to impel Dolphy through a solo which has no hesitations and is, simply, a masterpiece. It's odd that this opening is used only on the issued take: maybe he recorded it on the following day, after reconsidering. The original tune, incidentally, isn't played straight at all: Dolphy plays fragments of it, linked by his own cadenzas. The estate of the original composers are lucky to have been paid.
My only gripe - an extremely slight one - concerns the packaging. Try getting the booklet back into its slot. Also, it would have been better of the CDs had inner sleeves. The texts about the discovery of the tapes, the circumstances of the recording, and the story of the original producer Alan Douglas, are informative. But I'd have appreciated information about what remains unissued (there's another take of "Mandrake" accessible on the internet, for example), and I'm curious as to the circumstances in which pianist Roland Hanna, who had no connection with these recordings, came to write a tune ("Muses") for Richard Davis. In place of such detail, we get several musicians telling us what we knew already: that Eric Dolphy was a great musician and all-round nice guy.
Buy this set, for the good of your soul, and because if enough people buy it, we might even get more of the same. Let us pray....
Produced by Alan Douglas and recorded at Music Maker's Studios in New York City on July 1 & 3, 1963 these expanded sessions include the original albums 'Iron Man' & 'Conversations' with extra tracks plus a CD of previously unreleased studio recordings.
Another bonus track, the 15-minute 'A Personal Statement', was recorded at WUOM studios in Ann Arbor on March 2, 1964.
Collective personnel includes Eric Dolphy(alto sax, flute, bass clarinet); Prince Lasha(flute); Sonny Simmons(alto sax); Clifford Jordan(soprano sax); Woody Shaw(trumpet); Garvin Bushell(bassoon); Bobby Hutcherson(vibes); Richard Davis, Eddie Khan(bass); J.C. Moses, Charles Moffett(drums); Bob James(piano, composer); Ron Brooks(bass); Robert Pozar(percussion) & David Schwartz(violin).
The 19 memorable monaural tracks have varying line-ups and include fascinating duets with Dolphy & Davis on 'Alone Together'(2 takes), 'Come Sunday' & 'Ode to Charlie Parker' plus an unaccompanied alto solo from Dolphy on 'Love Me'(3 takes). Other highlights include Fats Waller's 'Jitterbug Waltz' & 'Music Matador' featuring Dolphy's bass clarinet.
The passionate and adventurous jazz on the expertly remastered 'Musical Prophet: The Expanded 1963 Studio Sessions', along with a 96-page booklet including a fascinating lengthy essay by Thelonious Monk biographer Robin D.G. Kelley, serves as an ideal introduction to Eric Dolphy's unique and vibrant music and deserves a place in any serious modern jazz collection.
Btw ~ While the music is superb the CD packaging is poorly designed.
The CDs and 96-page booklet are a struggle to remove from and replace in their sleeves.
I can see the whole flimsy cardboard package falling apart before too long.
This triple CD is one of last year's stunning re-issues! The sound is superb and is presented the way it was recorded and meant to be heard - in MONO. The music is top rank Dolphy.
The cardboard package is triple gate-fold and comes with a 100 page book.
Of the three CDs, one is a disc of previously un-issued official studio recordings, the other two previously released albums both include a substantial amount of additional material. All music is in mono, and that aspect surprisingly enhances the whole listening experience.
The only negative is the lovely packaging is not really fit for purpose! The CDs are housed in cardboard inserts/slots, with the opening on the left side, and the book is difficult to remove and impossible to put back in place once removed, so if you care more than the designers of the package about practicalities of usage it's time for a do it yourself job with storing the discs and book elsewhere!
*I have a copy of Iron Man (stereo) and believe me this Mono version sounds so much better, plus it has a 15 odd minute additional extra track tagged on at the end.