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5.0 out of 5 stars Eccentric jazz by an eccentric genius
Recorded four months prior to Dolphy's (diabetes associated) death is his best selling album "Out to Lunch" with the stunningly amazing drumming of 18-year old Tony Williams, and the great musicianship by vibraphone-virtuoso Bobby Hutcherson (23 at the time) and 25-year old trumpeter Freddie Hubbard. Dolphy plays all three instruments he was known for playing -...
Published on April 6 2004 by Patrik Lemberg

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2.0 out of 5 stars totally unhinged
ezra pound said that in art there's always a fixed element and that expression comes by deviation from it. there's something to this: no one would sit listening to a metronome for an hour (no deviation), but a drummer who cuts the pulse keeps our interest. likewise no one would sit listening to white noise for an hour (nothing fixed). now i'll be honest: i don't...
Published on March 6 2000


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5.0 out of 5 stars Eccentric jazz by an eccentric genius, April 6 2004
By 
Patrik Lemberg (Tammisaari Finland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Out to Lunch (Audio CD)
Recorded four months prior to Dolphy's (diabetes associated) death is his best selling album "Out to Lunch" with the stunningly amazing drumming of 18-year old Tony Williams, and the great musicianship by vibraphone-virtuoso Bobby Hutcherson (23 at the time) and 25-year old trumpeter Freddie Hubbard. Dolphy plays all three instruments he was known for playing - all equally, and with equal out-of-this-world skill; alto sax, flute, and bass clarinet. The changes of melody and solo instruments are really refreshing. The album also features the experienced, regular Dolphy bass player Richard Davis, known for working with jazz-artists such as Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Chet Baker, Wes Montgomery, and Joe Zawinul, but also with artists like Bruce Springsteen and Barbra Streisand. He has played classical music under the lead of Boulez, Stravinsky, Stokowski, and Leonard Bernstein as well. Here he--and his team mates--gives the music great justice to say the least; Dolphy seems to bring out a side in all these musicians that they probably hadn't gotten to, and do not get to, release daily in their playing. The quality of the ensemble playing is chilling; to say the very least it's in a class of its own, especially when considering that this music is recorded in early 1964!
To either warn or encourage people about this album, I must point out that it is very far from another "Kind of Blue"; a lot of these eccentric themes are played over eccentric forms as well - some in 5/4, some in 9/4. If you have heard and liked Dolphy's playing anywhere else, you will LOVE this. Part of what differs the mood of this album from jazz-albums of its time, is that not a note is heard from a piano; Hutchersons's vibes really set an original mood. I've listened through this recording at least 50 times, and every time I listen I get surprises, and hear something new that chills me. Without this album Dolphy wouldn't be spoken of as much as he is now. It's his most interesting album, with most variety, and with an exceptionally good sound quality. The music of Eric Dolphy should really be given a genre-title of its own - maybe "eccentric jazz"?
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5.0 out of 5 stars I finally see what a great cd this is, it took me long enoug, Dec 20 2003
By 
woodstockvet (pick your nose a lot) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Out To Lunch (Audio CD)
I feel like the worlds biggest idiot, but now I really understand what this cd is all about. I recently saw a commercial which featured a song from this cd, I realized I was listening to a work of art. I left a really crummy review on August 11, 2003, I called it "Noise for Nerds," you see I didn't realize that jazz isn't just music it's art.
I listened to the cd again and now I realize my ears were not sophistocated enough for jazz, I had only listened to dumb world music like Brazilian and african, I didn't understand that jazz was improvisation(I was stupid). Anyway I want to say "I'm so sorry", for writing things like "This is the dumbest, drollest CD I've ever made the mistake of buying," I now realize this is the only smart and intelligent decision I ever made in my screwed up life. You see I was describing my self, I never go outside, I constantly carry a slide rule, and I pick my nose a lot, and I didn't connest with this cd, but now this cd has changed my life.
I now NEVER listen to crudy Brazilian, African, Cuban, Celtic, or early American music anymore. The Penguin Guide gives this cd four stars and a crown, who was I, a nerd, to say it only gets one star. I give it now one-hundred stars now that I understand the concept of jazz as an improvisational art, i can begin to live. I need to wear dunce cap for giving it one star in my previous review. Can you Eric Dolphy fans ever forgive me??? This cd is so good, I am going to college to get a degree, so I can teach a jazz appreciation class and I will use this cd in my class, to teach appreciation of jazz. Thanks Eric Dolphy for opening me up to a new world of creativity... I was such a close minded fool before. I was also jelous because I have to talents as a musician, I was green with envy of Dolphy's talent, I have no talents, oh well jelousy makes such fools of people like me. All I can say is buy the cd and try to understand it's ART, and beautiful!
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Amazing Record. An Amazing Experience., Oct. 29 2003
This review is from: Out To Lunch (Audio CD)
I cannot for one minute believe that there haven't been more than a hundred master and doctoral dissertations on the subject of this record. How can I do it justice describing it in this short review? Impossible. It influenced me musically, philosophically, and spiritually.
I first heard it at the tender age of 16. Other jazz I've heard or owned at that time was either of the straight-ahead variety, or fusion such as Miles Davis' "In a Silent Way". In no way was I prepared for this.
At first I couldn't make sense of it all. In my mind, it was too complex, too cerebral, and too noisy. And a bit scary. After a few listens (OK, quite a bit more than a few) I started to understand their vocabulary, and I was hooked. I searched out other "avant-garde" jazz albums. Many were very good (especially Eric D.'s other albums, and lots of J. Coltrane), but none came close to the musical epiphany I experienced with this album. None of them combined the bent lyricism with the musical genius encoded on to the disc of Eric Dolphy's "Out to Lunch". Actually, the vinyl grooves, it was quite a while ago.
What more can I say? Give it a chance. It is nearly impossible to judge it solely on the mp3 samples offered above. If you are already a convert to the free jazz of the 1960s, and you do not own this album you're going to lose your membership, no doubt about it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Eric Dolphy was awesome., April 9 2003
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This review is from: Out To Lunch (Audio CD)
I never used to listen to very much jazz, but lately it has been a big interest of mine. _Out to Lunch_ was one of my first important jazz purchases in my current exploration, despite some admonitions saying that if one is new to jazz this isn't a good album. Compared to most of yas I'm still a jazz neophyte, but I think this album is AMAZING.
Eric Dolphy has one foot in the compositional richness of Mingus and another in the avant-garde -- at the time, Dolphy was boldly stepping beyond tradition. So perfect are these pieces that it can be difficult to tell where composition ends and improvisation begins, and that ambiguity is part of _Out to Lunch_'s hook. Solos build out of the written arrangement and overlay the rhythms; melodically and rhythmically, this is tougher and sharper than most of the jazz I have heard so far. The playing is absolutely great.
"Hat and Beard" is a skittering, tense work. Dolphy's solo trades off with the trumpet, while furious drumming seems to dare Freddie Hubbard to become more aggressive, and he must finally concede to a quiet tintinnabulation of vibes. Here vibist Bobby Hutcherson seems to face conflict of its own as the nervous rhythm continues to exact a stretched eagerness until the main theme makes a return. Mwahaha, I like it. On "Out to Lunch", Tony Williams' playing is like an entirely new drumming language, superlatively intuitive and subtly emphasizing the perfect notes. In Dolphy's words, "Tony doesn't play time, he plays pulse." (Might not really make sense until you hear it though.) In fact, the rhythm work on this whole album is all astonishing and very easily some of the best I've heard. Players scuffle around the a repeated theme with tense solos, baiting other players and everyone takes the spotlight somewhere, occasionally at the same time. "Straight Up and Down" is a metrical labyrinth, but very swingin' with silvery melodies, achieving accessibility despite complexity. Williams and Richard Davis (bass) are very intense here. The best part is the end, where the initial theme returns with a pendent hum on the vibes -- it's almost disorienting coming out of the tricky stuff, like spinning in circles for a minute or two then stopping and being hit with dizziness. "Gazzelloni" starts with a catchy harmonious lilt then spirals into free territory that sounds more neatly arranged than it does random -- a testament to the skill of these masters. "Something Sweet, Something Tender" is a dulcet piece, mellow but rhapsodic. This one uses some deep harmonic languages to convey its feeling.
VERY sad that Eric Dolphy passed away shortly after recording _Out to Lunch_, because he probably could have gone on to some amazing work after this. I'm probably still a jazz-dummy and this review may be shoddy, but this is one of the best jazz albums in my collections. I know what i like!
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5.0 out of 5 stars classic, Jan. 21 2003
This review is from: Out To Lunch (Audio CD)
Eric Dolphy's "Out to Lunch" is simply put one of the finest moments in the history of recorded jazz. One may classify it as a combination of the "hard bop" and "free jazz" subclassifications of the jazz tradition, and that assessment would point in the right direction, but "Out to Lunch" is a truly unique set. The songs are driving, definitely with a "pulse". Few albums have so much life in them, sadly ironic that Dolphy did not live to see the release of this landmark... but his spirit will hopefully live on forever in this wonderful album. It owes a lot to Ornette Coleman and Charles Mingus, but Dolphy completely stepped out on his own with this record. It is perhaps my favorite jazz record ever. It at least deserves to be placed high on the list of recognized classics in all jazz, right up there with Miles' "Kind of Blue" and Coltrane's "A Love Supreme" as simply monumental. I think those two albums are good comparisons. Though the three are very distinct from each other, each has a particular feel that most records don't, that everything went right somehow. That there was something transcendental happening in the music studio that probably nobody could explain. And that's why we listen to music for that transcendence. If you get any of this, you must check out "Out to Lunch" if you haven't. If I just sound like I'm nuts, don't blame the album for that.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Dolphy's Best Album, Aug. 12 2002
By 
Christopher Forbes "weirdears" (Brooklyn,, NY) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Out To Lunch (Audio CD)
This Blue Note album represents what I feel is Eric Dolphy's most revolutionary work on disc. Throughout most of his career, Dolphy had one foot in the avant-garde and one foot in the bop tradition. In many ways, Dolphy was the most Bird-like saxophonist of his generation, but Bird with a twist. Much of his output as a leader was done with rather traditional rhythm section ensembles. Out to Lunch marked a break with that.
The rhythm section work on this album is exceptional. Richard Davis manages to play with the time and still keep it grounded. Tony Williams was at his best in this kind of music, creating landscapes with his drums. Listen to his interplay with Davis and Hutcherson. They are all over each other and yet the groove never gets lost.
Two players on this album are not usually associated with the avant-garde of the 60s, Freddie Hubbard and Bobby Hutcherson. And yet both deliver what might be considered their best work, especially Hutcherson. He plays with the adventurousness of Herbie Hancock and yet, because of the unique properties of the vibes, the sound is lighter, freer and less modal than a piano based ensemble would be.
Last but greatest of all is Dolphy. In this album, his unique abilities really shine, both as a composer and as a soloist. Dolphy was bridging the supposed gap between the "New Thing" players and the boppers long before people like Arthur Blythe, or Anthony Braxton started playing standards again. Dolphy is wild and wooly one minute and swinging the next. Dolphy was always master of his musical situation, even as a sideman. But with him in front of a band of his own choosing, the results are incandesent.
If you only get one Dolphy album, this is the one to get. It shows were jazz might have gone, had he not died so young. It would have been amazing!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to Mr. Dolphy's Neighborhood, May 28 2002
By 
G B (Connecticut) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Out To Lunch (Audio CD)
The irony about Out to Lunch is that despite the controversy it generates, it is still one of the most popular, accessible, and downright TUNEFUL albums to come out of jazz's 60s avant-garde. (And it has absolutely classic cover art.) If the avant-garde really isn't your thing, it may horrify you; but if you have any sympathy for this kind of stuff, even if you don't know it yet, you'll probably love it. I second others' suggestion to listen to Monk (Brilliant Corners) and Mingus (Mingus Ah Um) first. If you like those two, then Dolphy's ideas here will make a lot more sense.
Onto the music: this isn't really a free jazz record, as in a bunch of instruments all playing at the same time without reference to harmony or rhythm. Every theme is composed (with strange, but very catchy melodies) and despite the fact that the improvisation goes all over the place, it somehow manages to stay entirely within the context set by the composition. The solos all seem to make perfect sense and sound completely natural. Dolphy is terrific both as a composer and an instrumentalist -- bass clarinet on the first two tracks, flute on "Gazzelloni", and alto saxophone on the last two tracks. Freddie Hubbard, a guy known primarily for playing hard bop, fits in really well here. And the rhythm section is stellar and downright telepathic: Bobby Hutcherson's spacy vibes, Richard Davis's solid yet stretchy bass playing, and Tony Williams's hyper-aware drumming. There's a classic sequence in "Hat and Beard" when all three engage in an amazing percussion discussion.
This was one of the first jazz albums I bought as a rock fan who enjoyed Frank Zappa and King Crimson. I was hooked instantly, and to this day it remains one of my very favorite jazz albums. Even in a catalogue as star-studded as Blue Note, this is a milestone. If you like Out to Lunch, other records you may appreciate are Andrew Hill's Point of Departure (with Dolphy, Williams, and Davis) and Bobby Hutcherson's Dialogue (with Hutcherson, Davis, and Hubbard).
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thank You, Eric Dolphy., May 25 2002
This review is from: Out To Lunch (Audio CD)
Forgive the length of my review, but I would like to have my say
about Eric Dolphy and this recording.
I first heard Dolphy when I was 16 years old. I knew much less technically about jazz and music in general then than I do now, but I still knew that I was hearing art from a rare sort of artist. The proof that true art and its appreciation is not simply a matter of technique and an understanding of it is in the fact that I felt the greatness of Dolphy before I understood what he was doing technically. It took my mind a while to sort it out, but my heart felt it from the beginning.
Out To Lunch is my personal favorite Dolphy recording for two reasons that I will explain by way of partially describing my own path toward an understanding of Dolphy.
After that first hearing I would passionately grab any opportunity to hear another recording and I was always excited by his playing, but something always seemed wrong to me with the overall sound of the group in relation to Dolphy. The sound seemed better when he was playing with just Richard Davis or Mingus, but with a larger group I never felt satisfied in spite of how much I admired his playing. Even with the great Coltrane group, Dolphy seemed out of place to me. The first thing I noticed was that there always seemed to be a conflict between Dolphy and whatever pianist he was playing with, regardless of how good that pianist may have been. They didn't compliment each other and there was sometimes a similar problem with the drums. The powerful structure that is created by conventional jazz piano and drums seemed to restrict Dolphy. This is not because Dolphy's music is formless or 'free', but because it has a different kind of structure that is equally strong. Many people who don't listen very well think that Dolphy's improvising has no shape. These people try to listen to the rapid-fire flow of the individual notes, both music and speech tones, and they get overwhelmed and lost and think they are in the midst of chaos. But all of Dolphy's improvising is made of longer phrases that are packed with these glittering notes and if you don't hear and see the shape of these containing phrases then you can not only not hear what Dolphy is actually doing, but you can also not see that Dolphy's essential gift is compositional. Dolphy had an incredible ear and sensitivity to various sounds around him that he liked to utilize in his playing, but everything went toward composition. But as a composer he is simply not suited to the piano/drums structures that most jazz musicians are more adapted to. So the reasons why Out To Lunch is my favorite is that the musicians playing with Dolphy on it not only do not restrict him, but actually feed his efforts in a way that never happened before. I think Bobby Hutcherson (vibes) is the only musician to ever play with Dolphy who understood him as well as Richard Davis or Mingus did. The playing of Hutcherson on this recording opens up spaces for Dolphy that he never had before in playing with a full ensemble. Hutcherson deserves deep appreciation for what he achieved here. On this recording we can finally see what Dolphy was aiming at, we can see his compositional genius in both his improvising and in the pieces themselves. I only wish it had happened sooner and Eric had had a chance to take it further and blessed us more with his gift. But I am still deeply grateful. Thank you, Eric Dolphy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Inspiring Masterpiece., Feb. 24 2002
By 
Ian Ryan (Perth, Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Out To Lunch (Audio CD)
I'm afraid that this, my first review on Amazon, is primarily aimed at the 'music fan from Carlisle, PA USA'. I was actually searching for info on Dolphy boxed sets when I noticed that there is a newly remastered version of this incredible work now available...and thought I might check out some reviews. Then I read the drivel written by said 'music fan'. Now, I would just like to say firstly that the comment that all people who like this album (and by implication, all post hard-bop jazz) are 'elitist pseudo-snobs' is insulting and moronic. Secondly, the remark that this is 'the kind of music that has contributed to the slow death of jazz as a mainstream American artform' is about as wide of the mark as any kind of supposedly intelligent comment I've ever read by any one about music, ever. Indeed, it seems far more likely to me that it is the very conservatism of mainstream jazz and its refusal to continue to explore and experiment that has lead to the 'death' of Jazz. Anyway, had to get that off my chest. For anyone else, I really think you should buy this album. If you don't like it, at least you will have heard something unique. In any case, this is really not totally 'free' music - I think that Dolphy shared with Mingus an interest with tonally centred improvisation with occasional moves 'out'. As such, it is a good introduction to the early avant garde jazz of the 1960s. Finally, the rhythm section is, for my money, one of the finest ever assembled in Jazz history.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Challenging and massively rewarding music, June 3 2001
This review is from: Out To Lunch (Audio CD)
Out to Lunch! is one of the most important jazz albums of the 1960s.
The clarity of the recording, the individual space accorded each instrument, the meticulous attention to the nuances, the refined texture of the overall sound, the sheer presence of each recorded moment - these were the hallmarks of its sound. The coming together of Eric Dolphy, Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Hutcherson, Richard Davis and Tony Williams on Out to Lunch! was a momentous event. Dolphy had made a clutch of records for Prestige in the years leading up to this record, the most significant probably being the famous Five Spot live sessions with Booker Little that would promise so much but be cut short by Little's death from uraemia. Out to Lunch! was to be his single, most unsettling masterpiece.
It's not an easy album to become fond of. It insinuates melodies before it cuts them short, it ruthlessly breaks up harmony into fragments and it stretches the limits of tonality to extremes, but perhaps its triumph is that it brings swing into a new era. By giving Davis and Williams space and freedom, Dolphy let swing become a by-product of interaction, not a conscious contrivance. The rhythmic complexity of the record knew no precedent.
Tragically Dolphy was do die in Europe a few months later from an attack brought on by diabetes. He says on the liner notes, "I'm on my way to Europe to live for a while. Why? Because I can get more work there playing my own music, and because if you try to do anything different in this country, people put you down for it."
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Out To Lunch
Out To Lunch by Eric Dolphy (Audio CD - 1999)
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