Eric Dolphy was among the most daring, impassioned and technically assured improvisers to come of age in the 1960s and Out to Lunch!
represents his most fully realised vision. From his ground-breaking work with Chico Hamilton
and Charles Mingus
, through his catalytic stint with John Coltrane
, and all through his brilliant solo recordings for Prestige, this reed innovator defined the best elements of the swing and the bebop traditions, from Benny Carter
, while extending on the rhythmic, melodic and harmonic freedom of Monk
. Dolphy is an emotional shaman with a keen comic edge, as is evident in the rhythmic sauntering, drunken gait of his theme to "Straight Up and Down," and Monk's influence is clearly discernible in Dolphy's witty dissonances and vocalised blues phrasing throughout Out to Lunch!
(his only Blue Note recording, completed shortly before his untimely death). Rhythm masters Richard Davis, Bobby Hutcherson
and Tony Williams
suspend time at will, sculpting in open space, while deconstructing the harmony and superimposing cubist rhythmic displacements--periodically regrouping around Freddie Hubbard
's bumblebee trumpet and the leader's vocalised bass clarinet (his Monkish "Hat and Beard"), wailing alto (the martial parodies of the title tune), and exhilarating flute (the lyric, swinging "Gazzelloni"). --Chip Stern