Eric Dolphy - Out to Lunch!
Apr 4, 2020 (updated Apr 6, 2020)
89
*700 Followers* A special thanks to every one of you!

Today, in commemoration of 700 followers, I would like to shed some light on one of my favorite albums of all time: Eric Dolphy's Out to Lunch. Out to Lunch is an album that is one of the most creative and groundbreaking pieces of music ever released. Out to Lunch is infamous for its varied sound, which clings to the traditions of jazz music by only a thin thread as it closely resembled what was to come with the free jazz movement. It was also not only a creative peak for Eric but for all who performed on the album.

Eric Dolphy stands as one of the most influential and vital figures in Jazz. He was capable of playing several different woodwind and horn instruments and also influenced Coltrane in innumerable ways. For Jazz as a whole, Eric carried the torch for post-bop so that free Jazz would eventually emerge, and recorded a handful of some of the best jazz albums ever released in under one decade. Before his solo career Eric earned a reputation for being an integral asset of Charles Mingus and John Coltrane's ensembles. On top of all of that, he popularized the use of the Bass Clarinet as a jazz instrument. It is without question that Eric Dolphy left an indelible mark on Jazz music. After several great releases, including the adventurous Far Cry, the improvisational Out There, and the post-bop classic Outward Bound, soon after that, Eric inked a pivotal deal with Blue Note Records where he would release his magnum opus, Out to Lunch.

Jazz is an incredibly broad term; it encompasses two very different sects: vocal Jazz and instrumental Jazz. I do not consider vocal Jazz to be authentic Jazz. I perceive vocal Jazz to be merely popular music intended for the radio. Still, authentic Jazz is a melding of blues and traditional instrumental jazz stylings that are designed for the live setting, as opposed to rapid air-play. Of course there are differing opinions on this matter, but it all comes down to a matter of preference, in which I prefer the instrumental version. Even instrumental Jazz can further separate into categories down from that broad term, into bop, big band, hard-bop, post-bop, Avante-Garde, free, and fusion, and many other subdivisions. Jazz is, without a doubt, the broadest and sophisticated musical genre. Out of all of those eras, Out to Lunch was birthed right at the conception of post-bop. A period of Jazz where the stylings of hard bop were being rethought and extrapolated to great extents.

To say that Out to Lunch is a rarity would be an understatement, there is nothing quite like it in the jazz world, not even those that performed on the album reached such a creative peak, such as this that was under the direction of Eric Dolphy. What makes the sound of Out to Lunch, so extremely unique was Eric's efforts in trying to replicate through instruments the sounds of animals in nature. When observed through this perspective, the album makes perfect sense; taking a step outside and only taking in the sounds is similar to Out to Lunch, where the animals and insects make something of music, just not in the ordinary linear way music is produced. Not only is the album a musical feat, but it is a philosophical feat as well, concerning the random but beautiful sounds found in nature and replicating it in an artistic form.

When listening to this album, I think it's beneficial to focus on one instrument at a time instead of trying to follow what the whole unit is doing, this, in turn, will give you a broader understanding of what the band is trying to accomplish. Its the quiet comments of the vibraphone, the conversing horns, the exact rhythmic impulses Anthony Williams lays out on the ode to Thelonious monk "Hat and Beard." Or on the poetically subtle "Something Sweet, Something Tender," the marching band rhythms on "Out to Lunch" accompanied by repetitive vibraphone, and the disjointed yet natural emotions found on "Straight Up or Down," the album contains an abundance of exciting sounds.

Every track on Out to Lunch is like a platter of select culinary flavors in which some sounds are familiar while others are shockingly foreign. It is a direct, flavorful, and memorable experience that never fails to arouse my senses. So, with that in mind, take a listen, or multiple listens to this masterpiece and witness first hand Eric Dolphy's genius.

Thank you for reading!
Jacques
5 Comments
Apr 5, 2020
Congratulations x700, keep on giving us excellent reviews like you did today and like you do from week to week!
Apr 5, 2020
The best avant-garde jazz album in my opinion, a magnificent review written by a true jazz lover, we can feel it. Congrats again on 700 Jacques!
Apr 5, 2020
@DoubleZ @WhatTheFunk Thanks to both of you! I appreciate your continual support!
Apr 5, 2020
Awesome review as always! Congrats on 700 followers.
Apr 6, 2020
@Sosuke_Arima Thanks man!
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