Monday, August 22, 2011

Eric Dolphy & Ron Carter - Magic (Prestige - P 24053)

There are some musicians whom we are sure to have passed away at an early stage of their carreers. Just soon we witnessed another talent in Amy Winehouse going the same way. Eric Dolphy was 36 when he suffered from a heart attack in Berlin where he was to open a jazz club. It was so sudden, so untimely.

One reason for this was that he took the stage very late or rather late considering his talent. Being a shy person in character and maybe not enjoying leading, he spent time as a sideman and was often neglected. It was the few years where he was under the limelight that we can joyfully listen today.

The record of the day is Eric Dolphy and Ron Carter's album Magic (2 Lps). Actually both Lps were released before by New Jazz Records, but this is the ultimate collection of both. It was released by Prestige records as a budget release, now it's not that budget anymore.

The album offers countless amusements during the solos of Eric Dolphy and Ron Carter. The title "Miss Ann" offers a magical duet by Eric Dolphy alto saxophone and another untimely loss (At 23) Booker Little on trumpet. It is unbelievable. The underrated Jaki Byard offers his best at the piano on "Bird's Mother" which he wrote himself, but I have no single idea why he named the song like that. There are other solos on the track, but in general Dolphy and Byard seem to be in charge.

Ron Carter is more tender in the first Lp (Recorded 1960) while on the second one (Recorded 1961), he seems to have found his terms and shows off his grand talent. In the tracks "Where?" and "Saucer Eyes", he performs incredible solos where you can directly grab why he was where he was in terms of both musical respect as well as fame. It is quite essential to listen how he attacks the bass and gets out what he exactly wants.

The record is named "Magic" and it is not hard to guess why. Anyone who can listen to this batch of recordings in 2 sessions, 1 year apart, can get the true feeling of something magical, something divine in the music. There is so much talent going on and so much new ideas flowing around that it is hard to listen once and put it aside. It contains much material for a series of listening and observing.

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