Eric Dolphy: Freedom of Sound (2024)

In 2014, Seed Artists produced an historic celebration of visionary multi-instrumentalist and composer Eric Dolphy, whose tragic death in 1964, at just 36, left the jazz world wondering, “What if?”

On June 1 & 2, in partnership with The School of Jazz and Contemporary Music at The New School, in Manhattan, another remarkable slate of artists will celebrate Dolphy’s singular voice from novel and compelling perspectives.

Some will use never-heard Dolphy compositions from the Library of Congress to create new works of their own. Nicole Mitchell/Craig Taborn and Matthew Shipp/Rob Brown will explore Dolphy’s little-known secret jam sessions with Cecil Taylor. (A true thing!) Don Byron will lead a quartet of bass clarinetists on the instrument that Dolphy revolutionized in jazz. The Dolphy Trio will create new music on his three primary instruments–flute, alto sax, bass clarinet. Angelica Sanchez will present Geri Allen’s epic “Celebration Suite for Eric Dolphy”—performed only once, 35 years ago. From dance to string quartet, to solo sets on guitar and on vibraphone/electronics, artists will imagine in their own voices what Dolphy might have done had he not died so young. And we will feature a New School performance group taught by our own Pheeroan akLaff, fresh off a class created just for this festival.

Seed’s longtime friend Dr. James Newton, a Dolphy scholar and one of the greatest all-time jazz flautists, will lead a symposium on Dolphy’s life and music, and a listening session with visual artist and jazz historian Peter Bodge to guide the audience through Dolphy’s recorded music. We are excited and honored to celebrate Dolphy’s musical genius, his humanity, and his legacy.

Stay tuned for personnel updates and messages from the artists and from Seed staff.

Email us at to get on our mailing list. And please pass along the festival info to your Dolphy-loving friends.

AND…Check out the website of Alan Saul, who has done as much as anyone to keep alive the Dolphy flame. This is the Dolphy resource:

Alan Saul

Alan Saul