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Eric Dolphy: Far Cry (Remastered)

C. Michael Bailey By

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Where have you gone, Eric Dolphy...

During his short life, Eric Dolphy was a tireless student of music. His elaborate classical training prepared his fertile mind with all of the background necessary to become essentially the anti-Vincent Van Gogh of jazz. While certainly appreciated as a musician during his lifetime, Dolphy’s appetite for innovation (even within the confines of an established musical structure) limited his job opportunities. Decried by neoconservatives as being too free and the jazz freedom fighters as being too traditional, Dolphy existed as the grand unifier in jazz, showing both sides their common ground through his amazingly extensive discography (for having been amassed between 1959 and 1964.

Far Cry is a case in point. Recorded December 21, 1960, this disc was perhaps Dolphy’s most firmly ground effort in the Be Bop Tradition. Nods to Charlie Parker abound, and not merely in the titles of songs. Dolphy and mate Booker Little perform within the confines of the standard song structure. It would be merely eleven months later when Dolphy would join John Coltrane’s freedom ride at the Village Vanguard. Dolphy was always moving fast, a fact accountable for his large output.

Far Cry contains some beautiful moments. The bass clarinet Be Bop of "Mrs. Parker of K.C.," the wispy flute of "Ode to Charlie Parker," and his Dolphy’s wonderful unaccompanied saxophone on the standard ballad "Tenderly." The all-star band on hand (Ron Carter, Jaki Byard, and Roy Haynes) helped the session along also. As with other Fantasy-related remasterings, Far Cry is dusted off in such a way to reveal the full warmth of Rudy Van Gelder’s Englewood Cliffs studio. Eric Dolphy may be one of the most important and least understood geniuses in jazz. Listen to this recording and dispel this delusion.


Track Listing: Mrs. Parker Of K.C. (Bird

Personnel: Eric Dolphy

Title: Far Cry (Remastered) | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Prestige Records

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