So long, Eric!

Commemorating the death of the musical heavyweight Eric Dolphy

Eric Dolphy © Charles Stewart/ Archiv Jazzinstitut Darmstadt

The American musician Eric Dolphy was a jazz legend. He was a multi-instrumentalist who had mastered almost every woodwind instrument and played the alto saxophone, flute and bass clarinet at the highest level of virtuosity. Dolphy, who died in Berlin in 1964, left behind numerous recordings of his performances with such renowned jazz artists as Charles Mingus and John Coltrane, as well as compositions which capture the emergence of avant-garde jazz of the 1950s and 1960s in an exemplary form. Fifty years after his death, a festival in Berlin celebrated Dolphy’s musical oeuvre. To honour Dolphy’s compositions, the festival featured an ensemble of musicians who are known as outstanding representatives of contemporary jazz. The ensemble was comprised of musicians from Berlin and four guest musicians, including Han Bennink and Karl Berger, both of whom performed on stage alongside Eric Dolphy. The project’s artistic directors were Alexander von Schlippenbach and Aki Takase, who were also producing the arrangements. Alexander von Schlippenbach is one of the pioneers and most important representatives of European free jazz, and Aki Takase is widely acclaimed as one of most creative and versatile female musicians in the European jazz scene. The festival featured performances of selected works of Dolphy’s oeuvre. In addition to the two major public concerts, the festival also included discussions and public rehearsals which provided musicians and students of Berlin an opportunity to become familiar with the artists’ rehearsal methods. The festival was supplemented by an event, organised by the Federal Agency of Political Education, about the racism debate of the 1960s.

Artistic director: Alexander von Schlippenbach
Musical director: Aki Takase (JP)
Musicians: Karl Berger (US), Han Bennink (NL), Wilbert de Joode (NL), Antonio Borghini (IT), Tobias Delius (GB), Axel Dörner, Rudolf Mahall, Heinrich Köbberling, Henrik Walsdorff, Nils Wogram


Alex von Schlippenbach/ Aki Takase/ Constanze Schliebs

Lausitzer Straße 10

10999 Berlin (external link, opens in a new window)