Personnel: Eric Dolphy (flute, bass clarinet); Booker Little (trumpet); Mal Waldron (piano); Richard Davis (bass); Ed Blackwell (drums).
Recorded live at The Five Spot, New York, New York on July 16, 1961.
Reed player/composer/arranger Eric Dolphy was, in the early '60s, in the vanguard of the free jazz movement, yet his music was not as avant-garde as some of his contemporaries'. The language was still bop, but Dolphy added new vocabulary and syntax, playing with a freer, more vocalized approach over more or less standard chord changes. Recorded in 1961, the AT THE FIVE SPOT series of albums documents what may have been Eric Dolphy's finest group ever, as well as one of that era's best working bands.
"Fire Waltz" is a crackling mid-tempo piece, where Dolphy's boldly unfettered yet focused alto points toward the future, while the rest of the band maintains an irresistible fancy-free groove. "Bee Vamp" features some stirring, crackling trumpet from Booker Little and some muscular, vocalized bass clarinet from Dolphy. Pianist Mal Waldron and drummer Ed Blackwell are luminously expressive throughout.
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