Legendary pairings this weekend – Eric Dolphy with Charles Mingus, along with Clifford Jordan and tenor sax, Jaki Byard, piano and Dannie Richmond, drums.
This broadcast comes roughly a month after the famous and long-thought-lost Cornell Concert (Cornell was in March and this one is from April). It’s also part of a well documented group of concerts that took place during 1964.
Much ink has been spilled and many pages have been devoted to this pairing, along with the support team involved. It is, considered by many to be a pivotal point in Modern Jazz – and as such, pretty much all the recordings from this tour have been available in one form or another; officially or unofficially. This one comes via Southwest German Radio, who originally broadcast the concert.
A general assessment of the tour, as well as a rundown on some of the many recorded documents from it, is summed up in a very informative article via The Guardian’s John Fordman in 2007 on the Cornell University concert from March of 1964 – here’s a sample:
“In 1964, the great composer/bassist Charles Mingus formed what was to be one of his finest bands, and with it toured Europe to great acclaim. No Mingus period is better documented – though alto sax/bass clarinet genius Eric Dolphy’s contribution has acquired an unwelcome poignancy since he died in Berlin at the end of the trip. But for all the alternative availability of the material, these newly discovered tapes are a unique glimpse of the band in its exuberant first weeks playing a selection of Ellington and Mingus classics. Pianist Jaki Byard throws in Yankee Doodle, Boogie Stop Shuffle and the funeral march, trumpeter Johnny Coles sounds intensely inspired by the Miles of Sketches of Spain, and Mingus and drummer Dannie Richmond ruthlessly badger and cajole. A riotous account of Take the A Train makes you feel you’re right in the exhilarated crowd, and Dolphy’s unexpectedly diaphanous flute arrangement of Fats Waller’s Jitterbug Waltz modernises the piece. Mingus’s bass is recorded a little muddily here and there, the only downside.”
With the exception of Johnny Coles not being part of this Stuttgart concert (sidelined by a stomach ailment), this is essentially the same lineup. For those who may not know, and as was mentioned in the article, this would some of the last recordings Eric Dolphy would make just prior to his death in Berlin in June of that year.
Significant as well as poignant – definitely worth a listen, and another, and another. (note: the top few bars at the beginning are missing because of damaged original tape . . .sorry!)