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Here’s and outstanding 1961 live album that I will be featuring and exclusively for the Jazz Con Class Radio listeners. It’s actually a double treat because it has two bonus songs (track 3 and 4) from another album, “Eric Dolphy & Booker Little Memorial Album” and was released after Eric Dolphy’s unfortunate death in Germany in 1964. I’m not sure why the original released on Prestige (7294) did not include all the songs because they were recorded on the same night. I can only guess because of the length of the record but they will be featured here together and for a week or so. The name of the album is “Eric Dolphy at The Five Spot 2”, check the schedule link for play times, ENJOY!

About the album:

Recorded live at The Five Spot, New York, New York on July 16, 1961. Originally released on Prestige (7294). The 2009 reissue of Eric Dolphy’s landmark AT THE FIVE SPOT VOL. 2 includes two bonus tracks, “Number Eight (Potsa Lotsa)” and “Booker’s Waltz,” which originally comprised the Eric Dolphy-Booker Little MEMORIAL ALBUM, released posthumously in 1964. 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’. Dolphy played with a freer, more vocalized approach, yet he did this over more or less standard chord changes. Recorded in 1961, the AT THE FIVE SPOT series of albums documents what may have been Dolphy’s finest group ever, as well as one of that era’s best working bands. This quintet plays beautifully as a unit in extended performances of originals and standards, making tunes such as “Like Someone in Love” their own. Dolphy’s flute is exquisitely lyrical, and Booker Little’s trumpet is crisp and brassy, full of….Read More

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About the “Eric Dolphy & Booker Little Memorial Album”:

The late Eric Dolphy is one of the most pivotal figures in jazz, a fiercely lyrical player and imaginative composer at the forefront of the changes the music underwent in the 1960s. Dolphy, unlike some of his contemporaries, didn’t totally abandon the bebop approach–though his solos could be wild (Dolphy played alto sax and bass clarinet with an extremely energetic and vocal presence), his rhythm section kept things grounded. In the early ’60s, he had a quintet with Booker Little, one of the greatest trumpet voices of that time, and a flexible, forward-looking rhythm team (especially the fine drummer Ed Blackwell, who had played with Ornette Coleman). This disc captures that group live in New York City in 1961, stretching out at length on two originals: the bittersweet, slightly melancholy “Number Eight,” and the jaunty, fluid “Booker’s Waltz.” Both pieces are filled with nimble, thoughtful, and…..Read More

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Biography of Booker Little:

Booker Little, Jr. (trumpeter) was born on April 2, 1938 in Memphis, Tennessee and passed away on October 5, 1961 in New York City at the age of 23.

Little was born in Memphis, Tennessee to a trombonist father and piano playing mother. Both of his parents played in church groups, and his sister Vera later sang with the London Opera Company. At first, the boy attempted to learn trombone, then switched to clarinet at age twelve.

At fourteen, urged by his Manassas High School band director, Little switched to the trumpet for good. Memphis was a fertile musical city the boy grew up jamming with many future jazz notables, including pianist Phineas Newborn, Jr. and his guitar playing brother Calvin, trumpeter Louis Smith, who was also a cousin, pianist Harold Mabern, and saxophonists George Coleman, Charles Lloyd, and Frank Strozier.

In 1954, Little left Memphis to study trumpet and composition at the Chicago Conservatory of Music, where he earned a Bachelors of Music degree in trumpet. While in Chicago, he spent time jamming around the city with the likes of tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin, as well as drummer Walter Perkins and bassist Bob Cranshaw, better known as the Modern Jazz Two (MJT).

While he was a sophomore at the Conservatory, Little roomed for nine months at the YMCA with saxophonist Sonny Rollins. Rollins exerted a strong influence on Little’s musical conception, encouraging the young trumpeter to form a distinct voice on his horn. “[Sonny] cautioned me about allowing myself to become overly influenced by other players,” Little told Nat Hentoff. “{He told me not to listen to too many records, because he felt I was listening to them mainly to emulate what the soloists were playing. “You’ve got to be you,” he told me, “whether that’s bad or good.}”

Rollins also introduced Little to drummer Max Roach in 1955, while Clifford Brown still held the trumpet chair in Roach’s group. Brown died the next year, and Roach approached Little to replace him in the group. Still in school at the time, however, Little declined and the seat was filled by Kenny Dorham. Upon graduating in June 1958, Little almost immediately flew to St. Louis to replace Dorham in Roach’s pianoless quartet – which also featured his old friend from Memphis, George Coleman……Learn More

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