Following the sudden death of multi-reedman Eric Dolphy during the summer of 1965, a number of prominent musicians, some of whom had worked with the late musician on record dates, gathered to put together a memorial tribute to him. Dolphy, of course, did not perform any of these
compositions, though some were written prior to his death. John Lewis contributed "Sumadja," an unusual third stream work, initially utilizing an anvil as the prominent rhythm instrument. Following a section for strings, Jerome Richardson (heard on alto sax, but not mimicking Dolphy), trumpeter Joe Newman then violinist Lewis Ely take solos. Harold Farberman's "...Then Silence" is dedicated to both Dolphy and trumpeter Nick Travis, the latter who died in the fall of 1964. Most of this work is atonal, with Newman improvising within a twelve-tone series within a specific range requested by the composer. Gunther Schuller, who worked with Dolphy on several projects, brought two original pieces (both twelve-tone based works) to the sessions, though both were written in 1962. "Night Music" features a quintet with Bill Smith (on bass clarinet), guitarist Jim Hall, bassists Richard Davis and George Duvivier, and Mel Lewis on drums. Smith switches to clarinet for "Densities I," joined by Farberman on vibes, harpist Gloria Agostini and Davis returning on bass. Smith, known for his work with Dave Brubeck, is a prominent classical composer as well. His "Elegy for Eric" is also based on a twelve-tone row, featuring Richardson on flute, Kraus' vibes, then the leader's clarinet paired with valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer, followed by Richardson's alto sax and Newman's trumpet. While third stream music never really caught on with jazz-buying public, it is a safe bet Eric Dolphy would have devoured each of these five works and made his parts sound rather different than the players heard on his instruments. This long-unavailable Cambridge LP will be extremely hard to acquire; though fans of third stream music will immensely enjoy it.