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Wed, 06.20.1928

Simply brilliant, Eric Dolphy

Eric Dolphy

On this date in 1928, Eric Dolphy was born. He was an Black jazz musician, one of great artistic influences in the twentieth century.

Eric Allan Dolphy was born in Los Angeles. He began his studies on the clarinet and later learned the saxophone while still very young. He was playing professionally in Los Angeles by the time he graduated from junior high school. He attended Los Angeles City College from 1948-1950, served two years in the army and, after his discharge, continued his studies at the U.S. Naval School of Music in 1952.  Dolphy began playing with Chico Hamilton in 1958, moving to New York and joining Charles Mingus (with whom he would work with intermittently for the rest of his life) until 1960.

He was a versatile performer/artist and was an important part of the New York jazz scene. Dolphy recorded with John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, and George Russell among others. His short, brilliant, career existed in conjunction with the development of avant-garde jazz in the early 1960s. He was a force in establishing the flute and bass clarinet as standard jazz instruments. While leading his combo in West Berlin, he died suddenly of a complication from diabetes on June 29, 1964.

Jazz People
by Harry N. Abrams, Incorporated, New York
Copyright 1976
ISBN 0-8109-1152-3

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