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Eric Dolphy: Outward Bound

Douglas Payne By

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Multi-talented reed player Eric Dolphy (1928-64) makes his 1960 debut stand out for many reasons. It is foremost an ardently passionate gathering with pristine contributions from some of jazz's most flexible avatars - trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, pianist Jaki Byard, bassist George Tucker and drummer Roy Haynes. Then, of course, there is Dolphy himself: all wonder and myth, a firebrand of energy and effervescence. His gifts were abundant, his talent seemed limitless and he contributed plentifully to the jazz dialog. Outward Bound was originally supervised by Esmond Edwards and, it turns out, only one of two sets in this series not produced by Bob Weinstock. This new version, however, also adds three titles not on the previous OJC edition: alternate takes of "GW" (originally from Dash On ) and "245" (from Eric Dolphy: The Complete Prestige Recordings ) and Dolphy's own Chico Hamilton-esque "April Fool" (from Here and There , with the leader a knockout on flute). The music ranks, perhaps, as some of Dolphy's most accessible and most easily enjoyed. Opening with "GW," Dolphy perfectly captures the singing, swinging qualities of the song's namesake (Gerald Wilson, an early Dolphy mentor who responded in kind with "Eric" in Dolphy's honor). "On Green Dolphin Street" — so originally quirky, it deserves to be called "On Green Dolphy Street" - elicits sterling Dolphy-isms on bass clarinet. Hubbard here takes one of his most uncharacteristically Milesian solos ever (which he might have reconsidered following Davis's nasty comments about Dolphy in 1964). The quintet cooks on "Les" (named for trombonist Lester Robinson) and wails on the blues-drenched "245." Dolphy switches to flute for his particularly lovely take on Rodgers and Hart's "Glad To Be Unhappy," then moves back to his heavenly bass clarinet for "Miss Toni," which also elicits ripping input from Hubbard. Suffice to say, the alternates are worth hearing — bound in subtly different directions, but nonetheless informative or interes

Title: Outward Bound | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Prestige Records

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