The East Jazz Healing Society: “I’m rehearsing with Eric at his loft — myself, Tony Williams, Richard... »
“I’m rehearsing with Eric at his loft — myself, Tony Williams, Richard Davis and a trumpet player named Eddie Armour. We were rehearsing for about an hour and a half. It was a cold winter day. All of a sudden, right in the middle of the tune, the trumpet player, Eddie, starts cussing and packing up his horn. We get to the end of the tune and Eddie says to Eric, ‘You’re nasty.’ And Eric was real sweet, just like Trane was — you know, a real sweet cat. Eric said, ‘What?’ Eddie says, ‘I don’t like you, I don’t like your music, and I’m not going to play this gig. I’m out of here. F you. F this band. That’s it. How do you like that?’
We’re all standing there thinking, ‘My God, how can this cat say this?’ And he continues to put his horn away, clip the fasteners on his trumpet case. He grabs his coat, pulls his hat down and goes stomping to the door. He gets to the door — I mean, just yanks it open. The door hits the wall. Bam! He’s just about to go out the door.
Eric had just been sitting there with his head down. We’re all thinking, ‘Eric must feel horrible. What’s he going to do?’ All of a sudden, Eric says, ‘Hey, Eddie.’ Eddie turns around and says [in growling voice] ‘What?’ Eric, with the most conviction and love, says, ‘If I can ever do anything you need, please don’t hesitate to call me. I’ll be there for you anytime.’
Whoa! And Eric was serious. With that, this cat really got upset — he slammed the door and stormed out. We just stood there all quiet. It was like he Sunday punched him with love. The lesson was, ‘Love conquers all,’ you know? It’s like the devil couldn’t take that love, and this is what Eric was showing him. He went out that door with so much hate, but with a message that Eric still cared about him.
This was one of the biggest lessons Eric showed me — that if you can forgive somebody right when they do the most horrible thing they can to you, you just immediately take the weight of what they did off your back and just make it this beautiful experience, so that you can go on and do the things you want to do during the day and not waste time with negative feelings and negative thoughts.
Well, we sat there quiet for two or three minutes — didn’t say anything. Then we went on with rehearsal and we never played so hard in our lives. We were just overcome. Then Eric called Freddie Hubbard, and that’s when we did Out to Lunch.”
~ Bobby Hutcherson on Eric Dolphy
I’ve been on a heavy 60s Miles Davis kick lately, and his 2nd great quintet just leaves me speechless. The sheer brilliance of these 5 guys working together like a well oiled machine just does it for me.
Listening to the song Madness on Nefertiti, I realize how Ron Carter’s playing adds just the right amount of weighty heft from 23 seconds in, like a master chef adding in the right amounts of an ingredient. Not too much, and not too scant - just right. Then there’s the 21 year old Tony Williams riding the cymbals. Did I mention he’s 21? Yeah, that’s a 21 year old.
Miles sure knew how to pick the right people. No one assembled groups better outside of Duke Ellington who was the expert in large groups. For small groups Miles reigned supreme. His consistency in this regard is unmatched. His expertise goes beyond being a talented horn player. He was a leader among leaders. This is the key thing that separates him from the pack in my opinion.
One Step Beyond by Jackie McLean. Sidemen are Grachan Moncur III, Tony Williams, Bobby Hutcherson and Eddie Khan.
Recent acquisition: The Complete Studio Recordings of the Miles Davis Quintet 1965-June 1968 10 LP boxset on Mosaic Records
Personnel: Miles Davis (trumpet); Wayne Shorter (tenor saxophone); Herbie Hancock (piano); Ron Carter (acoustic bass); Tony Williams (drums)
Recording at Columbia Studios, Los Angeles, CA (01/20/1965-01/22/1965)
Listening now: Miles - Filles de Kilimanjaro. Betty Davis is on the album cover.