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Jazz - Released February 1, 1964 | Blue Note Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Free Jazz & Avant-Garde - Released January 25, 2019 | Resonance Records

Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Reissue
Experts in quality archives, Resonance Records, have dug up an essential Eric Dolphy gem. After leaving Prestige/New Jazz Records, the saxophonist worked during the summer of ‘63 with producer Alan Douglas (famous not only for his recordings with Jimi Hendrix but also for being behind the glass for the album Money Jungle with Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus and Max Roach). This meeting resulted in two albums: Iron Man and Conversations. The sessions were concocted with the crème de la crème of avant-garde jazz at that time: William "Prince" Lasha on flute, Huey "Sonny" Simmons on alto saxophone, Clifford Jordan on soprano saxophone, Woody Shaw on trumpet, Garvin Bushell on bassoon, Bobby Hutcherson on vibraphone, Richard Davis and Eddie Kahn on double bass and J.C. Moses and Charles Moffett on drums. Fast forward to January 2019: all the sessions from 1st and 3rd June 1963 have resurfaced, including some alternate takes. The tapes had been stored in a suitcase by Dolphy himself with other personal belongings just before he flew off on his last European tour, during which he died in Berlin on June 29th 1964 at the age of 36. The Californian had entrusted the suitcase to friends. Years later, it was recovered by flautist James Newton, who went through its content with Zev Feldman from Resonance Records and the pundits of the Eric Dolphy Trust in Los Angeles. With two and a half hours of music, Musical Prophet is a major document in Eric Dolphy's artistic evolution. A recording comparable to Out To Lunch!, his masterpiece for Blue Note released seven months later. But this is by no means a draft. Here, the group embark on trails both well-trodden and unexplored. Without cutting themselves off from their elders (Jitterbug Waltz by Fats Waller opens the album), they blow hot and cold and dare to explore all posibilities. Depending on the weapon of choice (alto saxophone, flute or bass clarinet), Dolphy expresses different qualities. Melancholic and introspective, almost as if irritated, if not panicky, he is constantly matched by accomplices who are just as quick as he is. And the musical freedom never erases the melodic framework. 56 years later, this emerging jazz has not lost any of its spontaneity and it would easily make some 2019 productions obsolete... © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1960 | Prestige

Distinctions Jazzwise Five-star review
The late multi-reed player/composer Eric Dolphy, one of the most pivotal figures in jazz, was a fiercely lyrical, imaginative musician at the forefront of the changes the music underwent in the 1960s. Dolphy, unlike some of his contemporaries, never totally abandoned the bebop approach of soloing over chord changes, but instead took his solos to fresh, expressive heights. Outward Bound, a quintet session from 1960, shows Dolphy in a somewhat transitional phase, his music closer to the hard bop of the late '50s than the free jazz of the '60s. "245" is a late-night blues on which Dolphy, on alto, testifies his feeling and loyalty to the form. The standard "Glad to Be Unhappy" is given a lovely, lively reading on flute, with the band providing appropriately spare, sympathetic accompaniment. "Miss Ann" features Dolphy swinging the bass clarinet with joyous abandon, as well as some crackling Freddie Hubbard trumpet. A highlight of this session is the imaginative, tasteful drumming of Roy Haynes, who has played with everyone from Charlie Parker to Pat Metheny. © TiVo
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Jazz - Released August 6, 2009 | Fresh Sound Records

Distinctions Choc du Monde de la Musique
This is one of two CDs that document the most innovative studio sessions in Eric Dolphy's musical career. Both appear for the first time with their original LP cover artwork and digitally remastered from the original stereo tapes produced by Alan Douglas in the summer of 1963. Although it was not released until 1968, the tracks for Eric Dolphy’s “Iron Man” were recorded at the same sessions that produced the album “Conversations” released through FM Records (now available through the Roulette Record catalogue). This all went down about one year before Dolphy released his art jazz masterpiece, “Out to Lunch”, so needless to say, the material on “Iron Man” is outstanding and a must have for any Dolphy fan. Although Eric and Sun Ra are both well known leaders in the world of avant-garde jazz, you do not normally hear much similarities in their music, except on this CD on which Dolphy is working with a mini big band ensemble that often carries a very Ra like sound in its arrangements and orchestrations. « Eric Dolphy and producer Alan Douglas decided to experiment with Eric's original compositions. Two approaches were agreed upon. One was of clear simplicity; Eric on reed instruments and Richard Davis on bass. The other was more involved – a ten piece orchestra of young men who understood and admired Eric's work. The recording sessions took place late at night in a very relaxed studio for five successive nights. In this environment the playing of Eric Dolphy, Richard Davis and the other musicians was unbelievably inspired. So much was created, individual compositions went from 'almost commercial' to 'very far out.' In the absence of a piano, Bobby Hutcherson's vibes are a crucial anchor, outlining dissonant harmonies that hang in the air almost spectrally behind the rest of the group. Most of the same musicians from "Conversations" appear here, including trumpeter Woody Shaw, flutist Prince Lasha, altoist Sonny Simmons, and soprano sax player Clifford Jordan. And once again, Dolphy duets with bassist Richard Davis, twice this time on bass clarinet for Ellington's "Come Sunday" and on flute for Jaki Byard's "Ode to C.P."Eric died in 1964, and he would have been happy to know this L.P. has been released. Douglas International thanks Mrs. Sadie Dolphy, Eric's mother, and John Carter for their help in recreating one of the most imaginative experiences in Eric Dolphy's musical career.» (From the inside liner notes)« In tribute to Eric Dolphy (1928-1964): Whatever I'd say would be an understatment. I can only say my life was made much better by knowing Eric. He was one of the the greatest people Ive ever known, as a man, a friend, and a musician.» (John Coltrane)
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Jazz - Released October 10, 1988 | Enja Horst Weber

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
This LP features the Charles Mingus Quintet during their European tour in 1964. Bassist Mingus, Eric Dolphy (on alto, bass clarinet, and flute), tenor man Clifford Jordan, pianist Jaki Byard, and drummer Dannie Richmond stretch out on a 37-minute version of "Fables of Faubus" while the briefer "Starting" is a rare Mingus-Dolphy duet. Although this music could be called avant-garde, there is nothing random about the notes picked or the many emotions expressed. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Free Jazz & Avant-Garde - Released June 28, 2017 | Enlightenment

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Jazz - Released January 1, 0 | Prestige

Hi-Res Booklet
After having left the ensemble of Charles Mingus and upon working with John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy formed a short-lived but potent quintet with trumpeter Booker Little, who would pass away three months after this recording. Despite all of the obstacles and subsequent tragedy, this quintet became legendary over the years -- justifiably so -- and developed into a role model for all progressive jazz combos to come. The combined power of Dolphy and Little -- exploring overt but in retrospect not excessive dissonance and atonality -- made them a target for critics but admired among the burgeoning progressive post-bop scene. With the always stunning shadings of pianist Mal Waldron, the classical-cum-daring bass playing of Richard Davis, and the colorful drumming of alchemistic Ed Blackwell, there was no stopping this group. Live at the legendary Five Spot Café in New York City, this band set the Apple, and the entire jazz world on their collective ears. "Fire Waltz" demonstrates perfectly how the bonfire burns from inside the soul of these five brilliant provocateurs, as Dolphy's sour alto and Little's dour trumpet signify their new thing. Dolphy's solo is positively furious, while Blackwell nimbly switches up sounds within the steady 3/4 beat. "Bee Vamp" does not buzz so much as it roars in hard bop trim. A heavy tandem line breaks and separates in the horn parts like booster rockets. Blackwell is even more amazing, and Dolphy's ribald bass clarinet set standards that still influences players of the instrument. Where "The Prophet" is a puckery blues, it is also open armed with minor phrasings and stretched harmonics. This is where Waldron and Davis shine in their terra cotta facades of roughly hewn accompaniments to Dolphy and Little's bold flavored statements. A shorter alternate take of "Bee Vamp" is newly available, shorter by two-and-a-half minutes and with a clipped introductory melody. Most hail this first volume, and a second companion album from the same sessions, as music that changed the jazz world as much as Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane's innovative excursions of the same era. All forward thinking and challenged listeners need to own these epic club dates. © Michael G. Nastos /TiVo
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Jazz - Released August 16, 1960 | Prestige

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. © Michael G. Nastos /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1989 | Prestige

Charlie Parker's influence permeates this 1960 session. Beyond the obvious acknowledgment on song titles ("Mrs. Parker of K.C. ['Bird's Mother']" and "Ode to Charlie Parker"), his restless spirit is utilized as a guiding light for breaking bebop molds. Far Cry finds multi-reedist Eric Dolphy in a transitional phase, relinquishing Parker's governing universal impact and diving into the next controversial phase that critics began calling "anti-jazz." On this date Booker Little's lyrical trumpet and Jackie Byard's confident grasp of multiple piano styles (though both steeped in hard bop) were sympathetic to the burgeoning "avant-garde" approach that Dolphy displays, albeit sparingly, on this session. Far Cry contains the initial performance of Dolphy's future jazz classic "Miss Ann," along with his first recorded solo alto sax performance on "Tenderly," in which Dolphy bridges the gap between the solo saxophone performances of Coleman Hawkins and Anthony Braxton. © Al Campbell /TiVo
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Jazz - Released September 30, 2020 | tricki masters mind

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1999 | Blue Note Records

The 1999 discovery of a previously unknown 1963 concert by Eric Dolphy makes it one of the finds of the decade. Taped for broadcast at the University of Illinois at Champaign, it was mentioned in an Eric Dolphy Internet chat room and eventually relayed to producer Michael Cuscuna. The sound is very good, except for overly prominent drums throughout the concert and an under-miked flute on "South Street Exit." Dolphy's playing is consistently rewarding, including a lengthy workout of "Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise," a miniature of "Something Sweet, Something Tender," and his always superb solo feature of "God Bless the Child." He switches to alto sax for an adventurous new work, "Iron Man" (which he would record a few months later for Douglas International), also inserting a hilarious quote of "Comin' Through the Rye." A 23-year-old Herbie Hancock on piano, Eddie Locke on bass, and drummer J. C. Moses make up the solid rhythm section. The last two tracks, "Red Planet" and Dolphy's "G.W.," add the support of the University of Illinois Brass Ensemble, which included a young Cecil Bridgewater on trumpet. Highly recommended!- © Ken Dryden /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1999 | Blue Note Records

Out to Lunch stands as Eric Dolphy's magnum opus, an absolute pinnacle of avant-garde jazz in any form or era. Its rhythmic complexity was perhaps unrivaled since Dave Brubeck's Time Out, and its five Dolphy originals -- the jarring Monk tribute "Hat and Beard," the aptly titled "Something Sweet, Something Tender," the weirdly jaunty flute showcase "Gazzelloni," the militaristic title track, the drunken lurch of "Straight Up and Down" -- were a perfect balance of structured frameworks, carefully calibrated timbres, and generous individual freedom. Much has been written about Dolphy's odd time signatures, wide-interval leaps, and flirtations with atonality. And those preoccupations reach their peak on Out to Lunch, which is less rooted in bop tradition than anything Dolphy had ever done. But that sort of analytical description simply doesn't do justice to the utterly alien effect of the album's jagged soundscapes. Dolphy uses those pet devices for their evocative power and unnerving hints of dementia, not some abstract intellectual exercise. His solos and themes aren't just angular and dissonant -- they're hugely so, with a definite playfulness that becomes more apparent with every listen. The whole ensemble -- trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, vibist Bobby Hutcherson, bassist Richard Davis, and drummer Tony Williams -- takes full advantage of the freedom Dolphy offers, but special mention has to be made of Hutcherson, who has fully perfected his pianoless accompaniment technique. His creepy, floating chords and quick stabs of dissonance anchor the album's texture, and he punctuates the soloists' lines at the least expected times, suggesting completely different pulses. Meanwhile, Dolphy's stuttering vocal-like effects and oddly placed pauses often make his bass clarinet lines sound like they're tripping over themselves. Just as the title Out to Lunch suggests, this is music that sounds like nothing so much as a mad gleam in its creator's eyes. © Steve Huey /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 1991 | Prestige

After having left the ensemble of Charles Mingus and upon working with John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy formed a short-lived but potent quintet with trumpeter Booker Little, who would pass away three months after this recording. Despite all of the obstacles and subsequent tragedy, this quintet became legendary over the years -- justifiably so -- and developed into a role model for all progressive jazz combos to come. The combined power of Dolphy and Little -- exploring overt but in retrospect not excessive dissonance and atonality -- made them a target for critics but admired among the burgeoning progressive post-bop scene. With the always stunning shadings of pianist Mal Waldron, the classical-cum-daring bass playing of Richard Davis, and the colorful drumming of alchemistic Ed Blackwell, there was no stopping this group. Live at the legendary Five Spot Café in New York City, this band set the Apple, and the entire jazz world on their collective ears. "Fire Waltz" demonstrates perfectly how the bonfire burns from inside the soul of these five brilliant provocateurs, as Dolphy's sour alto and Little's dour trumpet signify their new thing. Dolphy's solo is positively furious, while Blackwell nimbly switches up sounds within the steady 3/4 beat. "Bee Vamp" does not buzz so much as it roars in hard bop trim. A heavy tandem line breaks and separates in the horn parts like booster rockets. Blackwell is even more amazing, and Dolphy's ribald bass clarinet set standards that still influences players of the instrument. Where "The Prophet" is a puckery blues, it is also open armed with minor phrasings and stretched harmonics. This is where Waldron and Davis shine in their terra cotta facades of roughly hewn accompaniments to Dolphy and Little's bold flavored statements. A shorter alternate take of "Bee Vamp" is newly available, shorter by two-and-a-half minutes and with a clipped introductory melody. Most hail this first volume, and a second companion album from the same sessions, as music that changed the jazz world as much as Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane's innovative excursions of the same era. All forward thinking and challenged listeners need to own these epic club dates. © Michael G. Nastos /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1964 | Universal International Music B.V.

Allegedly Eric Dolphy's final recorded performance -- a fact historians roundly dispute -- this session in Hilversum, Holland, teams the masterful bass clarinetist, flutist, and alto saxophonist with a Dutch trio of performers who understand the ways in which their hero and leader modified music in such a unique, passionate, and purposeful way far from convention. In pianist Misha Mengelberg, bassist Jacques Schols, and drummer Han Bennink, Dolphy was firmly entwined with a group who understood his off-kilter, pretzel logic concept in shaping melodies and harmonies that were prime extensions of Thelonious Monk, Ornette Coleman, and Cecil Taylor. These three Dolphy originals, one from Monk, one from Mengelberg, and a standard are played so convincingly and with the utmost courage that they created a final stand in the development of how the woodwindist conceived of jazz like no one else before, during, or after his life. Utterly masterful on his flute during "You Don't Know What Love Is," Dolphy's high-drama vibrato tones are simply out of this or any other world, perfectly emoting the bittersweet intent of this song. The ribald humor demonstrated during "Miss Ann" is a signature sound of Dolphy's alto sax, angular like Monk, jovial and more out of the box while he digs in. Where "Epistrophy" might seem standard fare to some, with Dolphy on bass clarinet it is based on voicings even more obtuse than the composer's concept, bouncing along the wings of Mengelberg's piano lines. The post-bop blues of "South Street Exit" is tuneful while also breaking off into tangents, with Bennink's crazy drumming acting like shooting, exploding stars. As the definitive track on this album, "The Madrig Speaks, the Panther Walks" demonstrates the inside-out concept, with mixed tempos changed at will and a 6/8 time insert with Dolphy's choppy alto merging into playful segments as the title suggests -- a most delightful track. The ridiculously titled "Hypochristmutreefuzz" might be the most understated fare in its more simple angularity, as Schols plays his bass in the upper register while the band dances around him. Last Date is one of those legendary albums whose reputation grows with every passing year, and deservedly so. While it reveals more about the genius rhythm section than Dolphy himself, it also marks the passing of one era and the beginning of what has become a most potent and enduring legacy of European creative improvised tradition, started by Mengelberg and Bennink at this mid-'60s juncture. © Michael G. Nastos /TiVo
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Jazz - Released July 1, 1961 | Prestige

Hi-Res Booklet
This is the second of three sets that document the Eric Dolphy/Booker Little quintet's playing at the Five Spot (the third volume is titled Memorial Album). It features a group made up of pianist Mal Waldron, bassist Richard Davis, and drummer Ed Blackwell really stretching out during long versions of Little's "Aggression" and the standard "Like Someone in Love." Dolphy's playing -- whether on alto, bass clarinet, or flute -- always defied categorization, while Little (who passed away less than three months later) was the first new voice on the trumpet to emerge after Clifford Brown's death in 1956. An excellent set that records what may have been Dolphy's finest group ever, as well as one of that era's best working bands. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released May 5, 2014 | Fresh Sound Records

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Jazz - Released August 1, 2008 | West Wind

The companion piece to Conversations (recorded at the same mid-1963 sessions with producer Alan Douglas), Iron Man is every bit as essential and strikes a more consistent ambience than its widely varied twin. It also more clearly anticipates the detailed, abstract sound paintings of Dolphy's masterwork Out to Lunch, in large part because this time around the program is weighted toward Dolphy originals. "Iron Man," "Burning Spear," and the shorter "Mandrake" all have pretty outside themes, full of Dolphy's trademark wide interval leaps and playful sense of dissonance. Yet there's enough structure and swing to make their roots in hard bop perfectly clear, and once the front-line horns blast out the themes, the ensemble shifts into a more cerebral, exploratory mode. In the absence of a piano, Bobby Hutcherson's vibes are a crucial anchor, outlining dissonant harmonies that hang in the air almost spectrally behind the rest of the group. Most of the same musicians from Conversations appear here, including trumpeter Woody Shaw, flutist Prince Lasha, altoist Sonny Simmons, and soprano sax player Clifford Jordan. And once again, Dolphy duets with bassist Richard Davis, twice this time -- on bass clarinet for Ellington's "Come Sunday" and on flute for Jaki Byard's "Ode to C.P." Both are lovely, meditative pieces filled with conversational exchanges between the two players, illustrating what similar wavelengths they were on. Between Conversations and Iron Man, split up the way they are, one has to give a slight edge to the latter for its more cohesive presentation, yet these are classic sessions in any form and constitute some of the most brilliant work of the early-'60s avant-garde. © Steve Huey /TiVo
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Jazz - Released September 30, 2020 | Blue Moon

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Jazz - Released January 27, 2016 | BCD - 3RDP

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Jazz - Released April 7, 2009 | Gambit Records