Eric Dolphy Day

From a Brick’s Picks, 2010….one of the great things about writing for the LA Weekly is that they let me write whatever the hell I wanted. No one there knew anything about jazz so they couldn’t tell if I was telling the truth or not, and they knew less about hockey. (I remember a copy editor thought Stanley Cup was a guy.) I never actually went to the office and almost no one knew who I was or even what I looked like, which made me all the more unapproachable. So if I said I flew to Vancouver for the Eric Dolphy Parade and a hockey riot broke out, who was going to argue….

When we heard that the city of Vancouver planned to commemorate both Eric Dolphy’s birthday and the Canucks’ Stanley Cup championship with a bass clarinet parade we made plans to be there. The game was a hard fought massacre. After someone’s grandmother put the last goal into the Vancouver net the mood began to get ugly. We slipped outside to get a good spot for the parade. But the mood on the street was just as ugly, and getting uglier. Not an ideal jazz crowd. Around the corner you could hear several hundred bass clarinets either tuning up or playing one of Dolphy’s more outside pieces. The cacophony grew louder as the parade came up the street. In a remarkable display of civic counterpoint the crowd chanted Bruins Suck! Suddenly one of the musicians broke ranks and swinging his bass clarinet like a hockey stick broke half a dozen windows. The other musicians followed, hundreds of them, smashing windows with their bass clarinets and wreaking havoc. The crowd went nuts, breaking windows, chanting, burning, looting. Fistfights broke out everywhere. This was not the true jazz spirit. We fled back to the limo, made a beeline for the airport, and got to LA in time for the third set at Charlie O’s. Soothed by the hard bop and a couple whiskeys, we stole the waiter’s pen, grabbed a stack of cocktail napkins and wrote this column.

Go Canucks

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