Eric Dolphy Quintet

June 20, 1928 – June 29, 1964

The “Eric Dolphy Quintet” perform in Berlin during August 1961.


Eric Dolphy, sax
Benny Bailey, trumpet
Pepsi Auer, piano
George Joyner, bass
Buster Smith, drums

Eric Allen Dolphy, Jr. was born in Los Angeles, California where his first musical experiences included playing harmonica and singing in the choir of a local church.

He took formal instruction form music teacher Lloyd Reese and continued his studies after high school forat Los Angeles City College for a short period.

Gigging locally he would soon became proficient on alto and baritone saxophone, bass clarinet, and flute.

Returned home in 1953 following military service Eric Dolphy started performing with Buddy Collette who suggested that Eric he join Chico Hamilton in New York.

In New York the talented reed player Eric had the opportunity to perform with many legendary Jazz musicians including Freddie Hubbard, Don Cherry, Charlie Haden, Billy Higgins, Max Roach, Oliver Nelson, Scott LaFaro, and Eddie Blackwell.

He appeared on Ornette Coleman’s 1960 album “Free Jazz” and was also featured on four John Coltrane releases; “Africa Brass”, “Impressions”, “Live at the Village Vanguard and “Ole” in 1961 and ’62.

Dolphy would go on to record and tour with Charles Mingus appearing on the classic LPs “Mingus!”, “Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus”, and “The Town Hall Concert” and others.

In addition to his extensive work as a side man Eric Dolphy performed and recorded as a leader beginning with the 1960 releases “Out There”, “Outward Bound”, “Far Cry” and ““Magic” with Booker Little.

After the completion of his 1964 European tour with the “Charles Mingus Sextet” Eric had planning to settle down in Europe with fiancé, but fait had other plans.

On June 29, 1964 Eric Dolphy suffered a stroke caused by an undiagnosed diabetic condition and died in Berlin at the young age of thirty six. That year he was inducted in Down Beat Magazine’s Hall of Fame.

“Whatever I’d say would be an understatement. I can only say my life was made much better by knowing him. He was one of the greatest people I’ve ever known, as a man, a friend, and a musician.” – John Coltrane on Eric Dolphy

“When you hear music, after it’s over, it’s gone, in the air. You can never capture it again.” – Eric Dolphy

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