Saturday, February 22, 2014

Out To Launch 50 Years Later

February 25th marks fifty years since the recording of Eric Dolphy’s most famous recording, Out to Lunch.  Kevin Whitehead has a glowing and penetrating tribute to the document at eMusic.  I have scarcely anything to add except this: the first time I listened to the album it weirded me out.  This is the thing that jazz, and especially avant garde jazz, does.  It puts the soul off balance, leaving one to grasp at the nearest hand hold. 
We all like music that we can fall into, the way one falls into a warm bed or a glass of single malt scotch.  Fundamental music has almost the opposite effect, at least at first.  It tilts us out of bed.  If you have a taste for that, you will never be bored. 
In Out to Lunch, everyone seems to be twisting out of their skins.  Dolphy plays alto sax, flute, and bass clarinet.  Richard Davis plays bass, Freddie Hubbard trumpet, and Bobbie Hutcherson vibes.  Tony Williams is on drums.  There is a lot of voodoo spirit in that lineup. 
This is one essential recording for your library.  It will keep you on the path.  I am playing the title cut and ‘Something Sweet, Something Tender’. 

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