Eric Dolphy's first recording as leader showcases his abilities in a more conventional late bop setting than would later be the case. The listener will form a clear idea of what Dolphy brought to the table: unusual multi-horn talents (alto sax, bass clarinet and flute), significant compositional ability, and his unique melodic approach, which involves moving between 'in' and 'out' playing seemingly at will without indulging in the extreme effects that would characterise some of the later avant-garde.
This CD presents the six tracks on the original vinyl plus two alternate takes and the Dolphy original 'April Fool', all of which have appeared elsewhere but never together. The music covers a wide range of moods, and allows Dolphy and his fellow horn Freddie Hubbard plenty of room. The rhythm section (Jaki Byard, George Tucker and Roy Haynes) keep the music firmly grounded.
For me, the best of this album is in the two Dolphy originals 'G.W.' and '245' (the second of which has been quite extensively covered) and Dolphy's idiosyncratic take on the standard 'On Green Dolphin Street', with its pioneering bass clarinet playing - but really, the whole album is well worth your time.
Recommended particularly for anyone who is a little nervous about investigating jazz outside the hard bop consensus of the time. Later Dolphy albums are more completely characteristic, but also less immediately approachable.