The Jazzcat

Eric Dolphy Day

by on Jun.27, 2004, under News


Eric Dolphy Day


What a glorious day this is!!!! One of our own gets recognized and has a building at the Denker Recreation Center named in his honor, The Eric Allan Dolphy Memorial Center.


Eric grew up not even

half a block from the recreation center here in yes, South Central Los

Angeles. So many feelings come up when people here in Los Angeles here the words “South Central” but on the contrary my brothas and sistas, today, these are words of joy!


Eric is one of my all

time favorite players. It is so ironic that his music was the beginning

of my downfall at LA’s infamous jazz radio station. (Click here for the inside scoop!)

I only spent a small

fraction of the day at the event but, it started off with some of the

greatest players, who volunteered there time to come down to pay

respect to one of the most prolific and innovative thinkers in jazz

music, Eric Allen Dolphy.


I introduced the band

which included Bennie Maupin on Bass Clarinet, Flute, Alto and Soprano,

Munyungo Jackson on Percussion, Darek Oles on Bass and Michael Stephans

on Drums, who was inspired by my article to write his own.

Bennie held up his Bass Clarinet and said “If it were not for Eric

Dolphy, he and that instrument would not be here” Eric was an early

influence on Bennie and as a youngster in Detroit, Bennie used to pull

up to the club, sit outside in the car and listen to Eric, Trane and

the rest of the cats rehearse. He met Eric after one gig and the warmth

of his character touched Bennie as Eric, on break from the gig, spent

thirty minutes teaching Bennie about the flute.


This is just one of

many beautiful stories that you will hear about this outstanding jazz

legend. After a few words about Eric, Bennie proceeded to play a

beautifully entrancing composition that he wrote called “Penubra” the

space between dark and light. The music soared and enraptured those of

us lucky to be on hand in the intimate audience, inside the gym, at the

brand new 5 million dollar Eric Dolphy recreation center.


Clora Bryant got up

and said a few words about growing up and playing with Eric. Dr. Art

Davis was also on hand as well as Dwight Trible, Phil Ranelin, and

Teddy Edwards Jr. as well as a few other jazz gems for the festivities.

The drummer from the band did a funky bebop hip hop jazz rap and

afterwards, there was other poetry that was as cool as the poet!


But, was the jazz

public there? NO. Was there any support for such an occasion from LA’s

local jazz station? NO. Were you there? NO. This is an event that

should have had major media in Los Angeles.

One of our very own true heroes of the music gets a recreation center

named after him and the public does not know about it. Well, another

day in jazz. We who were there had a great time and it was all do the

the efforts of one person who lives and breathes to support the music,

Dalili Pierson.


Ever since I have met

her on the scene some many years ago, she has always been promoting,

passing out jazz information and supporting the players and the music

on a budget of love. Love! That is what we as those who play, write,

support and live this music always work for. Love! Money and

recognition would be nice too.

Please open your

ears, listen, understand, love and support jazz music because if you

don’t, the future of our music will be erased here in America. Not overseas! They understand. Eric Dolphy, if you don’t know, PLEASE ASK SOMEBODY!!!!


LeRoy Downs


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