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Eric Dolphy
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    (June 20, 1928-June 29, 1964)
    Born in Los Angeles, California
    Jazz musician
    Played alto sax, bass clarinet, and flute
    Played in the bands of Charles Mingus and John Coltrane
    Recorded the albums ‘Outward Bound’ (1960), ‘Caribe’ (1961), ‘Out There’ (1961), ‘Far Cry’ (1962), ‘Conversations’ (1963), and ‘Out to Lunch!’ (1964)
    ‘Down Beat’ magazine called the music he made with Coltrane ‘anti-jazz.’
    He settled in Europe after critical hostility in the US made it difficult for him to find steady work.
    The Los Angeles Times commented, ‘It’s a fair guess that even among jazz fans his name is better known than his music.’
    While still in junior high school, he received a scholarship to study music at USC.
    His compositions incorporated influences ranging from Stravinsky to birdsongs.
    Mingus said, ‘He had mastered jazz. And he had mastered all the instruments he played. In fact, he knew more than was supposed to be possible to do on them.’
    He died after he fell into a diabetic coma and the physicians at the hospital he was taken to assumed he had overdosed on drugs and sent him off to detox without doing the blood tests that would have revealed the actual reason for his collapse.
    He actually had never done drugs, drank alcohol, or smoked tobacco.
    ’Down Beat’ had a change of heart, posthumously inducting him into their Hall of Fame (1964).

Credit: C. Fishel

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