Monday, December 9, 2013

U DIG IT?: Evan Levine digitizes Eric Dolphy's 1961 recording At the Five Spot, Volume 1

The James R. and Susan Neumann Jazz Collection presents

the neUmann DIGITization project
Beginning in fall 2013, we're giving interested students the chance to choose an LP to digitize from the ca. 50,000 jazz-related recordings currently in the Neumann Jazz Collection and then to answer a few brief questions about their experience. If you'd like to be a part of the project, you can find out more information here. Today our post is by Evan Levine (OC '14), who chose the 1961 album Eric Dolphy at the Five Spot, volume 1 by Eric Dolphy (Prestige NJLP 8260.)

Why, in general, did you want to take part in this project? 
I wanted to utilize this awesome collection that we have at Oberlin. Once I graduate, being able to explore a collection like this will be difficult at best.

Why did you choose this particular record? 

I have never heard any recordings with Booker Little and Eric Dolphy together. Both of these artists are able to use the full range of their instruments texturally and timbrally. Richard Davis is one of my favorite bass players and greatly influenced Peter Dominguez (Oberlin Bass Professor), who studied under Davis at the University of Wisconsin for a number of years. Davis was one of the first musicians to bridge the gap between jazz and classical music. He is one of the first black musicians to ever be in a major symphony. The whole band consists of masters of their trade, who all see eye to eye musically.

I also chose a live record because the musicians have more time to develop and stretch their solos, as opposed to a studio recording where solos were generally shorter.

How is this different than just looking for the record online? 
Besides the fact that the fidelity of listening online is questionable and it is almost impossible to find high quality recordings (.wav or .aiff), listening to an analog record has a warmness that is just not there when listening to a digital recording. You are also forced to listen to a performance the entire way through, and in doing so you can only listen to a performance as a whole.

What would you recommend future listeners listen for on this recording? 
There are only three tracks, all of which are very different stylistically. Each track does not stay in one place for very long, and there is a lot of development among the entire band during the solos.  I would highly recommend listening to the album in its entirety, but each track does stand out on its own. If any future listeners have not listened to Eric Dolphy, I would say that they should prepare themselves for a very unique listening experience. This record is sa-weet.

Can other students listen to the LP now that it's been digitized?  
Yes, just click here and, when prompted, enter your ObieID and password.  If you’re off campus, you’ll need to authenticate using Oberlin’s VPN.