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Here again, the Music Matters treatment really pays off. It's blues from hell, and it sets the pace for the entire record. Well, dear readers, I mean every word. If nothing else his style builds on the work of bebop masters.
Before his untimely demise from diabetes in at the age of thirty-six, Eric was responsible for some of the finest, most original and eclectic material to be etched into the body of jazz. Much like John Coltrane, Dolphy had a taken a while to build up his spotlight and also was taken under the wing of a genius who allowed his style to reach a large audience. Starting out in classical flute under the tutelage of Elise Moennig, safety valve sizing online dating Dolphy began using the bass clarinet as a tool of improvisation.
In addition to great sounding vinyl, the Music Matters folks have gone to unusual lengths to recreate the covers with full, brilliant covers and additional session photographs. This period may have been his most productive, but many critics and fans considered his tenure at this time with Mingus as his big break. His work is not altogether estranged from the music that came before. It's also now almost fifty years old, and high time for a definitive reissue.
Out to Lunch flows soft and serene, then edgy and forthright. It isn't always pretty, but it is undeniably brilliant. Melodic and spiky and percussive and just beautiful. It is a great example to me of where everything just went exactly right.
It is also the only full studio record that Dolphy completed for the label, and the only one released during his lifetime. But for this time around Dolphy walks away from those conventions and gives the experimental a huge to canvas for his textures. Dolphy uses those pet devices for their evocative power and unnerving hints of dementia, not some abstract intellectual exercise. With Out To Lunch, those visual efforts are easy to appreciate. And these compositions are way out there, with jaggedly written lines, multiple thematic elements, and dissonance to beat the band.
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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. Unlike most Blue Note covers, which tended to be abstract geometrics or portraiture, Out To Lunch actually shares a joke. Out to Lunch shows Dolphy more apt for sonic annihilation than keeping in tradition, but the playing is in many ways a freer flight than what Coltrane was doing at the same period.
But that sort of analytical description simply doesn't do justice to the utterly alien effect of the album's jagged soundscapes. Yet Dolphy's control is masterful and no matter how far out he gets, you can feel his passion and know his path has been well articulated. His output with Mingus's Jazz Workshop is legendary.
And Freddie Hubbard bridges the avant garde and hard bop sensibilities beautifully. Following the statement, Dolphy jumps right in with his bass clarinet and promptly blows a solo from Mars, with serrated, stuttered runs and odd false notes.
Best bass playing on a date like this I can imagine. His playing here is just remarkable, on alto, bass clarinet and flute - the highest level. The Reid Miles photograph is bathed in indigo, creating one of the most iconic cover images ever produced. That may seem a mighty bold statement. As with fellow free jazz innovator Ornette Colman-and of course Trane-Dolphy was fundamental in creating the foundation of free jazz and avant-garde.
For those of the aforementioned group who have not been knocked down at the knees while Dolphy blows from the speakers, I'll testify. To me, this album eclipses everything else Dolphy did by a mile and I'm a huge Dolphy fan so that's saying something. Out to Lunch is one of the finest records of its kind. Unlike Lonson this is one of my very favorite recordings.
This record is where Dolphy starts blazing into the territory of Cecil Taylor. Like Point of Departure, Out To Lunch is an essential watershed in the jazz canon, representing a creative peak for the soon-to-be-gone Dolphy. The clarity is so enhanced that the keys on Dolphy's horn can be heard under his playing.