Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Eric Dolphy: Out To Lunch!

Tonight's Music: What sounds most cerebral and yet messes your mind up with the sickest grooves? Eric Dolphy. I recommend "Out to Lunch!", 1964, for a mindbending experience. He was a classically trained virtuoso on saxophone, clarinet (bass clarinet, occasionally B-flat soprano) and flute whose unique style of Jazz sparked controversy over what defined Jazz. He died at 36 from complications stemming from diabetes (for more info, please check out this mini review which I enjoyed reading).

Perfume: I'm contemplating the classics tonight. I don't usually wear classic perfumes but if I were to ask myself which ones I think everyone should smell once, I'd say Jean Patou Joy, Chanel No.5 and Guerlain Shalimar, in full parfum strength if possible. My favorite of the 3 is Joy, which is often referred to as an old-fashioned sweet floral, but I love it for those reasons plus the fact that quality-wise, it doesn't come better than that. Joy parfum to me is the standard of what "fine French perfume" is to me, and no matter how you feel about heady, noxious jasmine and Bulgarian rose essences, you can't deny the quality once you've experienced it. Joy is to perfume what analog sounds are to music--full-bodied and warmer than digital (or what headspace is to perfume).

I love Joy and do occasionally wear it but it's a big perfume that takes guts to wear. I think it's one of the most beautiful smells in the world. I also think it smells a little dangerous, like the essence of pure luxury with all its haughtiness and greed. But I admit it's a mood fragrance for me; on most days, I prefer something a little less obviously floral. When it comes to classic Floral, there is none other for me.

Shalimar which I also love (and might put on in a little while) is the classic spicy, sexy Oriental that fools you with lemony freshness and steals your heart with a sweetly seductive and bodacious vanillic base. Chanel No.5 is the star, the most modern perfume in its time: a powdery abstract (non-flowery) floral that's so downy it makes you feel like you've transformed into a swan. So, why don't I wear these perfect perfumes, these celebrated and timeless classics if they're still made with the best ingredients and are the status symbols of luxury around the world? The simple answer would be that there are perfumes I like better. Blasphemy? Perhaps, but generally, I like perfumes which incorporate both real essences and technologically advanced ingredients. Maybe the perfumes I love are a little bit like Eric Dolphy: slightly off kilter and always looking to the future--the essence of mod.