Most helpful positive review
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on 9 December 2004
I have to admit my jazz collection is quite slim and most of it predates the 1950's but I love the music on 'Out To Lunch'. Like others have contested, this is not free-jazz, much of the music opens with a melody line no matter how angular and dissonant before each member gets a chance to improvise. The opening 'Hat and Beard' (a tribute to Thelonious Monk) sets the tone for the rest of the album, the track roots itself in its synchopated beginning before leaping off into some interesting solos including a great one by vibist Bobby Hutcherson. Rhythm section Davis and Williams aren't so 'free' here maintaining an elegant groove. On 'Something Sweet, Something Tender', Hubbard sounds almost conservative, his playing evoking memories of 50's bop. There's some wonderful improvised bass by Richard Davis (also heard on Van Morrison's criticaly acclaimed 'Astral Weeks') and then Dolphy enters flouting all his exhuberance on clarinet. 'Gazzelloni' begins like the movie theme from an architypal 60's film, with a foot-tapping rhythm that again challenges the notion that this is a free-jazz album. There's some remarkable interplay between Hutcherson and Williams as they flow behind Dolphy's flute and Hubbard's trumpet. Hubbard comes to the fore again on 'Out To Lunch' where his trumpet runs like a bumble bee after Dolphy's bird-flying alto-sax solo. For a moment the rhythm breaks into a pounding monotone, then a bass flourish before the drums take us back to the original melody. Then comes the final drunken swagger of 'Straight Up And Down' where Hubbard's playing is almost conventional above the rhythm section indulging themselves, while Hutcherson goes on another flamboyant run, demonstrating what this album encapsulates most, an unrestrained sense of playfulness.