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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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Showing 1-4 of 4 reviews(4 star). Show all reviews
on May 13, 2016
If you are looking for something experimental but still has some hard bop structure, go for this album. A real gem from someone who died all too young. Some of Dolphy's other works are really out there. This one hits just the right notes. It is a little abstract so you are warned. Takes a few listens before you start appreciating its beauty and complexity.
A great record to collect.
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on January 10, 2001
It shocks me that some of the other reviewers have referred to this album as an example of "free jazz". "Free jazz" this isn't. This is clearly a painstakingly arranged collection of pieces and Dolphy displays his vivid and quirky imagination fabulously. I don't know how anyone listening to this could get the idea that this is "free jazz". Avant-garde, yes, "free", no.
To enjoy this album, you do NOT need to be a highly-skilled musician; you do, however, need to shed some of your preconceptions about what makes good music. Perhaps the 5/4 metre intro and overall 9/4 feel of "Hat and Beard" don't immediately set your toes a-tapping. Perhaps the bass playing doesn't strike you as what you've usually heard in jazz. Maybe the horns scratch, screech and whinny a little too much in between their snippets of almost conventional lyricism. "Is this music?" you ask.
Yes it is, if you are willing to listen to it on the playful terms Dolphy gives it to us. He didn't name the record _Out to Lunch_ because he was a dour intellectual. PLAY in the child's sense of the term is what often comes to mind when I listen to these tunes. Remember when you were a kid and you couldn't skip to a 4/4 beat because it wasn't ingrained in your psyche yet? Have you ever listened to a child's sense of musical time and pitch before he/she has been exposed to much music or musical teaching?
On this record it seems to me that Dolphy has harnessed and arranged that magical time. The record reminds me at turns of Mingus, Monk and Rahsaan Roland Kirk, all of whom had that magical ability to deliberately play like children albeit with the technique and intellect of adults. The PLAYING on this record is at times lyrical, does go "outside" often and is PLAYFUL in the extreme. This is kids music for grown-ups. It is hard to listen to only if you have lost that sense of play within yourself.
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on January 8, 2001
I'll be honest. What you think of this cd will depend on what sort of jazz you prefer. If you like swinging, straight-ahead blowing sessions then this cd is not for you. By the same token though, liking "free jazz" isn't automatically going to mean you love this cd either.
Freer than bop and more composed than free-jazz, this cd seems to find a middle-ground that was, and still is, largely unexplored. By "middle ground" I don't mean that this is a "middle of the road" take-it-or-leave-it cd. I mean this cd finds a spot between bop and free-jazz that I have never heard anyone else find before. Actually, I guess I could more accurately say this cd finds a place between Mingus compositional complexity and free-jazz. You will either love this or hate it. Indifference will not be an option. Personally, I think it is great.
The ryhthm section of Hutcherson (vibes), Davis (bass), and Williams (drums) is something to behold. I can honestly say that this cd is the only place where I have ever heard rhythm cut up and displaced in this manner. Hutcherson seems to go from playing lead to playing blocky, chopped phrases that seem as if they may have influenced certain moments of the keyboard work on the Miles Davis album, Bitches Brew. Hubbard (trumpet) is at his best here when he and Dolphy play the heads in unison, the mixture of trumpet and alto or trumpet and bass clarinet sound fantastic.
Dolphy is Dolphy (and that's a compliment!). His playing here ranges from mournfully impassioned cries, to free-bop explosions of off-kilter swing. His early death really was a jazz tragedy, because on the title track and Straight Up And Down we hear what are, to me, two of the most unique compositions he ever created, and they seem to point only to his future rather than relying on his past.
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on September 4, 1999
I love this album, it represents for me the progressions that Miles and Coltrane were about to take in the field of "modern jazz". Listen to it and be enlightened!
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