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Gone in the Air

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Towards the end of his life, Eric Dolphy told an interviewer: "When you hear music, after it's over, it's gone in the air; you can never recapture it again". It's a much-quoted comment, but posterity has reversed it. Dolphy's music survives and is increasingly admired, while his short life seems to have vanished into the ether, little examined and less understood. In Gone In The Air, Brian Morton tells a story that begins in California in the embrace of a loving family and ends alone in a Berlin hospital. He talks to friends, family, and to the many musicians Eric Dolphy worked with. He analyses Dolphy's complex contribution to modern jazz and his mastery of three different instruments, alto saxophone, bass clarinet and flute. The man who emerges is outwardly quiet and good - some describe him as a saint - but inwardly turbulent as he pursues an almost mystical devotion to music.

Published: Oct 1, 2019