Seed Artists, a cooperative founded by Pheeroan akLaff and associates, is planning a huge festival honoring Eric Dolphy on May 30-31 in Montclair NJ. The list of people playing and otherwise participating is pretty stunning.

Chris Napierala has asked people to submit short video testimonials:


Hello all.

As we near the launch of the website and the crowdfunding campaign for "Freedom of Sound: Eric Dolphy" (see summary of the event below), I have a small but important request. Depending on your cellphone skills--or another video source if you prefer--it should take literally just a few minutes. Possibly less. But the collective impact will be enormous. It will make for a compelling crowdfunding video and it will start off what Seed Artists plans as a permanent and ever-growing online homage to Dolphy.

The Testimonial
We would like you to record a short testimonial on your cellphone regarding Eric Dolphy and send it to us.

Just record and send, that's it.

Anything from 30 seconds to two or three minutes. It can be a "selfie"--sorry for the term--or something shot by a friend. Just you saying what you'd like to say about Dolphy. Whatever strikes you.

State your name, your town of residence, and then let us know what you think. Some possibilities:

- first time you heard Dolphy, your reaction
- favorite tune and why
- favorite record and why
- favorite Dolphy instrument
- favorite collaboration (Mingus, Coltrane, George Russell, Booker Little, Mal Waldron, etc.)
- Dolphy's musical legacy, within jazz or more broadly
- unexpected places that you hear his influence today
- Dolphy the soloist/improviser
- Dolphy the composer
- Dolphy's influence on you personally, as a musician or otherwise
- what Dolphy might have created had he not died so young
- Dolphy and birdsong
- Dolphy the musical ployglot
- Dolphy the (gentle)man
- why Dolphy matters (musically, in the history of jazz/creative music, as a committed artist)

We just want straightforward and honest. If you're not cellphone savvy but have a friend who is, please have him or her take the video and send it off.

If you're a musician, feel free to noodle (briefly) on your instrument of choice as an intro or outro, or play a short bit that illustrates a point. Knock out a few videos among your fellow musicians before a gig.

Whatever the scenario, just make sure that you're not talking over a lot of ambient noise. We won't be able to use videos that have bad sound.Ê

The more videos we receive by Friday, 2/28, the more useful they will be. We'll pull clips from several of them to use in the crowdfunding video, and all of them will be posted on our Youtube site--the famous and the unknown alike--which will form a living and growing Dolphy homage.

The best thing: these videos will help us to raise funds for the Jazz Foundation of America. I've attached a link so that you can take a look:

Jazz Foundation:

Please email the videos to this address ( or text/forward to tel: (646) 338-9926.

Lastly, please forward this to fellow Dolphy fans and encourage them to send us their cell videos and in turn pass on the request. The multiplier is crucial. Think not only locally but internationally and across genres and generations. We'd love to have as many perspectives as possible.

Thank you for your time, and thank you for helping us to celebrate the genius of Eric Dolphy.

Chris Napierala
Seed Artists

Here's the text of the summary mentioned above:


Freedom of Sound: Eric Dolphy

May 30-31
Memorial Auditorium at Montclair State University
Montclair, NJ

As I developed, I found I could play a lot of notes against a common chord progression that some people would call wrong. To my hearing it's right. You can play any note you like. It's based on freedom of sound. - Eric Dolphy

Eric Dolphy was among the brightest lights in an adventurous early Sixties jazz scene. An improviser and composer of singular invention, a virtuoso on alto sax, bass clarinet and flute - unmistakable two notes in. From storied work with John Coltrane, Charles Mingus and Ornette Coleman - to name a few - to his own masterpiece Out to Lunch, Dolphy left an indelible mark in a tragically short time.

Fifty years ago this June, Dolphy died at age 36. A despondent Mingus famously jumped into his open grave. Coltrane observed, "Whatever I'd say would be an understatement. He was one of the greatest people I've ever known, as a man, as a friend, and a musician."

Freedom of Sound: Eric Dolphy is a landmark celebration of Dolphy's life, music and legacy: More than 30 world-class musicians, from legendary Dolphy contemporaries to todays young innovators; solo dance by an Alvin Ailey instructor; a National Book Award-nominated poet; a symposium featuring two legendary NEA Jazz Masters and a renowned music scholar; debut compositions, photography and video exhibits, historical displays - even a Dolphy graphic novel.

The coup: We will premiere at least one Dolphy composition that he did not live to perform and that has never been recorded or performed in public. A truly historic debut.

Seed will also contribute to the music's history. Fans and performers alike will post Dolphy cellphone testimonials on the website, building a permanent homage. Given funding, we will audio-record and film the event and performer interviews towards producing a documentary.

This momentous celebration launches Freedom of Sound, an annual music, arts and education series honoring visionaries who have pushed the boundaries of America's great musical art form. But it is more than a landmark cultural event. Seed will use great music to do good: Proceeds will help to fund the Jazz Foundation of America's vital work with elderly and ailing musicians, and music education in underserved schools. Seed will also donate sponsor-purchased ticket blocks to music students who otherwise might not be able to attend.

This is a unique opportunity to experience artistry at the highest level and to aid musicians in crisis and help foster another generation of visionaries.




This page is out of date and not maintained for now! However, the above was posted on 21 February 2014, just to not be consistent.

Outward Bound!

The lawyer for the Dolphy estate sent me a photograph of a painting of Eric playing clarinet outside that used to sit above the sofa in the Dolphys' living room.

Thanks to Bill Cosby for having the painting reproduced (as well as for his interest in the music in general).

Here is a discography, some pictures, and sounds pertaining to Eric Dolphy.


From the discography you can also see pictures of some of the album (er... I mean CD) covers, thanks to Albrecht Heeffer.

You might also check out the source of most of my discography, Vladimir Simosko's biography/discography published by Da Capo Press. This may require a few weeks to get from Amazon, and may be available elsewhere, but I suspect you'll have to order it. Amazon has it for $10 it seems. Une traduction en francais doit apparaitre bientot (a French translation is due any time now). And there is a new Finnish translation available.

I get many many requests for transcriptions. I recommend checking out what Andrew White has, at Andrew's Music, 4380 South Dakota Ave NE, Washington DC 20017, 202-526-3666. Michael McLaughlin says that he has some transcriptions as well. And see transcriptions I have on the web.

Dolphy mailing list

I have set up an email discussion list for people to pass along information relevant to Eric Dolphy. To subscribe to Dolphy-L, send a message to with the no text needed in the body of the message. So, for instance, I would send a message like:
From: (Alan Saul)

Alternatively, you can send a message to with a line in the message body saying
subscribe Dolphy-L your_email_address

Here is the blurb that describes our intentions for this list:

Welcome to Dolphy-L, a discussion list concerning the musician Eric Dolphy and related topics.

Eric Dolphy lived from 1928 to 1964, and recorded primarily after 1959. An excellent biography/discography of Dolphy, by Vladimir Simosko and Barry Tepperman, is available through Da Capo Press, and versions of that discography, along with various other information, can be found at on the web. These sources can be consulted for answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

We expect this list to be low-volume, limited to informative posts. Although not moderated, the list-owner may impose restrictions, and may change the list to a moderated form if necessary. For broader discussion, the Usenet newsgroup is highly recommended. Because for now (as of 1996) most people spend time reading all email they receive, we will strive to spare subscribers from receiving things they might not want. It is important to understand, however, that you will get email that you might not like, and rather than take offense it is almost always preferable to delete it and forget it. In particular, please do not reply to the list unless you have something to say to everybody - otherwise, reply ONLY to the individual to whom your comments are specifically directed. We would ask for a high degree of sensitivity to diverse cultural norms, as well as tolerance.

To subscribe, unsubscribe, obtain help or get info about the list, send messages to or to or to rather than to the list ( itself.

Please SAVE this message somewhere convenient for the day when you will want to unsubscribe!



A painting by Michael Cano

On alto (30K)

On bass clarinet (39K)

On flute (29K)

Practicing outside (128K)

Cover of a Russian CD, with Cyrillic spelling of his name (thanks to Ed Beuker for this)

Nice shot on alto from somebody unknown's web page

Painting by Tjarko ten Have thanks to Paul Karting

VARA Studio with Michiel de Ruyter and Aad Bos thanks to Paul Karting

Ticket for concert at Rotterdam's B-14 club thanks to Paul Karting

Photo with Misha Mengelberg and Boy Edgar thanks to Paul Karting

Letter of appreciation for Dutch tour thanks to Paul Karting

At Schiphol airport with Ruby Kamerbeek and Paul Karting thanks to Paul Karting

Other places to look for musical delights

Alan Saul
2638 Raymond Ave
Augusta GA 30904

Date created: 1994
Last modified: 5 January 2014

Maintained by: Alan Saul