everybodydigs#123 Eric Dolphy – Out There


everybodydigs# is a series of posts about Jazz, Funk, Soul & R’n’b albums released from the 20s to the 90s, you can read a brief description/review and listen to a small preview (when it’s possible). everybodydigs# is like when someone tells you “hey you should listen to this album!” and nothing less, enjoy!

By the time of this 1960 recording, only his second as a leader, Dolphy has already dispensed with the “traditional” jazz instrumentation. With bassist George Duvivier and drummer Roy Haynes holding down the rhythm, Ron Carter moves to the frontline armed with a cello, joining Dolphy as he switches from alto to bass clarinet to regular clarinet to flute. Out There catches Dolphy at a significant crossroads: The music is more ambitious and more jagged than on its predecessor Outward Bound, but more cohesive and less aurally challenging than on his 1964 master work, Out to Lunch. Dolphy’s improvisations—on each instrument–are bursting with creative, far-reaching ideas, expressive wails, and frenetic flurries while Carter’s eerie arco (bowed) cello ambles quietly, sometimes melancholy, sometimes menacing. Dolphy’s four originals show his absorption of Mingus—especially on the blues distortion of “Serene”—and provide perfect blueprints for his bizarre constructions. The quartet also handles one tune from Mingus himself (the ruminating “Eclipse”) plus Randy Weston’s fragile “Sketch of Melba.” –Marc Greilsamer

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