Eric Dolphy – Out There (1960/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 34:11 minutes | 386 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | Digital booklet | © Prestige Records
Out There was the second album for the Prestige subsidiary New Jazz by the inestimable multi-reedman/composer Eric Dolphy (1928-1964). It was in every way stunning—from the eerie cover painting to the starkly beautiful colors of an ensemble consisting of reeds, cello, bass, and drums, to the ways in which the compositions (four by Dolphy) fused bebop solos and ever-expanding freebop harmonies with contemporary classical chamber works.
This was a deeply personal statement by a musician who in 1960 was beginning to establish himself as one of the most expressive instrumental voices of his time. Dolphy and young Ron Carter, heard here on cello rather than bass, interact throughout with a closeness bordering on the extrasensory, and on Charles Mingus’s “Eclipse” and especially Hale Smith’s “Feathers,” Dolphy produces two of the most moving performances of a life that ended all too soon.
Recorded August 15, 1960 at Van Gelder Studio in Englewood Cliffs, NJ.
The follow-up album to Outward Bound, Eric Dolphy’s second effort for the Prestige/New Jazz label (and later remastered by Rudy Van Gelder) was equally praised and vilified for many reasons. At a time when the “anti-jazz” tag was being tossed around, Dolphy’s nonlinear, harshly harmonic music gave some critics grist for the grinding mill. A second or third listen to Dolphy’s music reveals an unrepentant shadowy side, but also depth and purpose that were unprecedented and remain singularly unique. The usage of bassist George Duvivier and cellist Ron Carter (an idea borrowed from Dolphy’s days with Chico Hamilton) gives the music its overcast color base, in many ways equally stunning and uninviting. Dolphy’s ideas must be fully embraced, taken to heart, and accepted before listening. The music reveals the depth of his thought processes while also expressing his bare-bones sensitive and kind nature. The bluesy “Serene,” led by Carter alongside Dolphy’s bass clarinet, and the wondrous ballad “Sketch of Melba” provide the sweetest moments, the latter tune identified by the fluttery introspective flute of the leader, clearly indicating where latter-period musicians like James Newton initially heard what would form their concept. Three pieces owe alms to Charles Mingus: his dark, moody, doleful, melodic, and reluctant composition “Eclipse”; the co-written (with Dolphy) craggy and scattered title track featuring Dolphy’s emblematic alto held together by the unflappable swing of drummer Roy Haynes; and “The Baron,” the leader’s dark and dirty, wise and willful tribute to his former boss, accented by a choppy and chatty solo from Carter. “17 West,” almost a post-bop standard, is briefly tonal with a patented flute solo and questioning cello inserts, while the unexpected closer written by Hale Smith, “Feathers,” is a haunting, soulful ballad of regret where Dolphy’s alto is more immediately heard in the foreground. A somber and unusual album by the standards of any style of music, Out There explores Dolphy’s vision in approaching the concept of tonality in a way few others — before, concurrent, or after — have ever envisioned. ~~AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos
1. Out There 06:56
2. Serene 07:01
3. The Baron 02:57
4. Eclipse 02:46
5. 17 West 04:50
6. Sketch Of Melba 04:40
7. Feathers 05:01
Eric Dolphy – alto saxophone, flute, B-flat, bass clarinets
Ron Carter – cello
George Duvivier – bass
Roy Haynes – drums
Producer: Esmond Edwards
Reissue producers: Nick Phillips and Bob Porter
Recording and remastering engineer: Rudy Van Gelder