Eric Dolphy


Happy New Year to you all! I thought I would start off 2013 with a look at one of my favourite musicians, Eric Dolphy. There is a great interview with Dolphy’s parents from 1975 (11 years after he passed) that can be found on youtube, and there are some nice insights into his practice habits. The following is from the 2nd video:

Do you think he would he have any words of advice for people?

(Sadie Dolphy) I think he would tell them to practice, because that’s all he did!

He would get up in the morning before he went to school, say about 4.30 or 5, and practiced until it’s almost time to get his breakfast and leave for school. And he’d hurry home to start practicing again until really late in the evenings.

Did he mostly just practise scales and exercises?

Yes, and tone qualities. He’d blow one note for all day long.

(Eric Dolphy Sr) I’ve seen him blow one note on the saxophone for weeks at a time. I’d be out in the yard working and I’d go in and say, “There’s no more keys on that saxophone but that one?” And he’d play it and put it on his tape recorder, and he’d listen to it. He’d say, “Daddy, it’s gotta be right.” I’d say, “Sounds right to me.” “No, it’s not right yet.””


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