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The other side of Eric Dolphy
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The cultural and traditional value of the music on this album is much more clear than in any of Dolphy's other work. Like Rimsky-Korsakov pulling on Russian folk music and elaborating on it to create a national music, Dolphy reaches out to traditional African folk music, and expanding upon it with a visionary avant-garde perspective, creates a higher form of African jazz. These recordings are like diamonds in the rough -- incomplete ideas that may have been expanded on with explosive results, if not for Dolphy's untimely death. Fans of 'Out to Lunch' and albums of the like might be a tad thrown off -- aside from Dolphy's characteristic playing, the music is far from his norm. But hearing Dolphy's explorations into music and his capacity for experimentation is priceless.Not for the casual jazz listener, but for anyone who dares to hear something completely beyond the conventional."
Obscurities for Obscurists
Richard B. Luhrs | Jackson Heights, NY United States | 03/20/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"As if tracking down Eric Dolphy albums weren't already enough of a safari, even the great reedsmith's few major-label releases are now starting to go out of print. To be fair, however, I can't imagine that Blue Note was moving all that many copies of this posthumous collection of Dolphy rarities (rather a redundant concept in itself); and unless one is an extremely devoted fan there's little reason to pay the intimidating prices being charged for used copies on this page.
Anyway, to get down to specifics, OTHER ASPECTS offers five tracks, recorded in 1960 and 1962, a couple of which at least do in fact probe lesser-known facets of Dolphy's music. This is certainly the case with the opener, "Jim Crow," a fifteen-and-a-half-minute Dolphy composition of no fixed genre on which the Maestro alternately plays all three of his major instruments (alto saxophone, flute and bass clarinet) over a full rhythm section and alongside a moaning - and ultimately rather aggravating - female vocalist. Dating from 1962, the piece bears a loose relation to the various "third stream" efforts with which Dolphy was involved at the time, further examples of which are available on collections such as VINTAGE DOLPHY and the celebrated Gunther Schuller/John Lewis JAZZ ABSTRACTIONS album.
Three short pieces follow, all of a far more mainstream mold. "Inner Flight," a two-part a cappella flute recital, and "Dolphy'n," a duet between Dolphy on alto sax and Ron Carter on bass, are all well played and effective enough; but none would rank among Dolphy's best work, and with so much of his best work from this period readily available, they're of minimal interest to non-specialists.
Finally, "Improvisations and Tukras" presents Dolphy playing a repeated flute obligato behind a repeated non-verbal chant to the accompaniment of several Indian percussionists. Apparently intended as the backing for a traditional Subcontinental dance, it might be all right as listening material for two or three minutes; but after nearly eleven, one is more than ready to have done with it.
The liner notes tell us that Dolphy left these tapes with friends before departing with Charles Mingus for the 1964 European tour from which he would never return. We may therefore assume that he had plans for all of these pieces, though it's doubtful he saw them as a potential album. That they ultimately became one is to Blue Note's credit, since any new releases from Eric Dolphy are to be welcomed; but the deletion of OTHER ASPECTS from the label's catalogue is not quite a tragedy."
Top rate, must have, Dolphy
jamie anderson | 10/26/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Track 1: Jim Crow, the standout on this CD, is a beautifully written and performed non jazz piece(apart from an incongruous, pedestrian but thankfully short jazz quartet interlude in the middle with irritating cliched jazz drumming). This mainly non beat driven track is quite unlike any other recorded Dolphy I know of as he works superbly with an exceptional singer whom the insert booklet lists as unknown. This singer's work is at least of equal stature to Dolphy's playing and despite the bathetic jazz intrusion this is my favorite Dolphy recording. I don't think you'll understand the artistic breadth of Eric Dolphy until you hear this.
Tracks 2 and 4: Solo flute pieces, elegant, expressive, free flowing and again showing an artistry revelling in being unhindered by jazz protocols.
Track 3: Just Dolphy on alto sax and Ron Carter on double bass. Carter's playing is of an exuberant and playful nature and Dolphy is inspired as usual - quite a happy piece.
Track 5: Dolphy on flute playing a simple non stop riff with Gina Lalli on tablas and presumably the one vocalising -"taka taka ta" etc - her drumlines as she plays, and Roger Mason on Tamboura. Written by Dolphy for dancer Drid Williams, according to the insert booklet - I find it hard to believe that he wrote all the instrumental parts - as a stand alone piece I find it way too simple and repetitive to be satisfying. But it's not irritating and serves as an interesting document adding to our appreciation of Dolphy's apparently growing breadth of musical projects before he sadly died."