Track Selection: Laura ( caution – vinyl has a few marks which sound on occasions, and recorded in
Denmark Wonderful, Wonderful, Copenhagen. What’s to like? The music, of course.)
Eric Dolphy (as,fl) Erik Moseholm (b) Jorn Elniff (d) Bent Axen (p) Recorded live at “Berlingske Has”, September 6, 1961(tk1) and “Studenterföreningen”, Copenhagen, Denmark on September 8th, 1961 (including “Laura”)
Dolphy’s advanced vocabulary for alto saxophone is brilliantly on display here, teamed with Danish jazz musicians whose names required great care to type correctly. Dolphy trod an unmade path between traditional bop and free jazz that was without equal. You are in the presence of genius here, at a front table seat in Copenhagen, 1961.
Vinyl: Eric Dolphy In Europe, Vol. 2 Prestige PR 7350
Issued in three volumes – original Prestige release covers I believe, all of them in Stereo, two indicating remastered for stereo and of similar design. Possibly there are others around, and I did find a Danish Debut label release which looks completely different again. The cover of Volume 3 works hardest at capturing the excitement of free jazz, but critics say it is musically the weakest of the sets.
Sometimes vinyl really tests you. This record wasn’t very well cared for by a previous owner, it is remastered for stereo, and only blue/trident prestige labels. But it still sounds phenomenal on my Avid turntable, which does a good job of separating out the music from the vinyl defects (better than the rather flimsy USB TT that does my rips, which has difficulty telling the two apart). You still follow the music, and most of the defects are brief.
Considering many of us moved from vinyl to CD in the Eighties to enjoy “pristine sound”, it is something of a challenge to go back to those defects. However after listening to the fresh lively vinyl source, even with the defects, I would rather that than the soulless presentation of “pristine” CD. This recording really has captured the experience of 1961 live performance. Perhaps I will pick up a better copy at some point.
Back to only Excellent vinyl grading in future posts.
Marked down for its only VG condition, the cover is nevertheless a beauty, with classic laminate and a superb picture of Dolphy smoking a pipe. How very bohemian and utterly against today’s Health and Safety culture. But since Dolphy was dead by the age of only 36, that hardly seems to matter. Guess the pension plan turned out a poor investment.