Eric Dolphy – Out To Lunch – Album Review

Eric Dolphy – Out To Lunch – Album Review

Review by Nick Ellman, of Naughty Professor

Eric Dolphy is perhaps one of the last great innovators on the clarinet of our time. At least the last one that I’m familiar with. Dolphy really took the clarinet to unchartered territory in the avant-garde jazz world. Free jazz can easily come across as self-serving and inaccessible. A lot of the time, I find musicians who play free don’t always have the chops to back up their freeness. In that, I mean they don’t have the vocabulary to not play free. With Eric Dolphy, I feel his command of the instrument firmly rooted in his freeness and that sparks my interest more than anything.

This album is Dolphy’s only recording as leader for Blue Note Records. He famously said “Everyone’s a leader in this session” regarding his all star cast of musicians. And you can hear the trust the musicians have in each other by the way they play together. On “Something Sweet, Something Tender,” it’s refreshing to hear the execution of the melody played very articulately and in sync; a stark contrast to much of the album playing against each other.

To me, the standout track on this album is the opening cut: “Hat And Beard.” The 9 note basso continuo the bass clarinet and bass hold down together is catchy and memorable. That with the juxtaposition of the freedom in the solos is definitely an emotional release that you may not find in any other kind of music. It takes a patient listener to enjoy free jazz but once you give in, it is a really powerful art form.


  1. Hat And Beard
  2. Something Sweet, Something Tender
  3. Gazzelloni
  4. Out To Lunch
  5. Straight Up And Down


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