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Out To Lunch Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered

4.5 out of 5 stars 84 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered, March 23, 1999
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

His brilliant 1964 debut as a leader on Blue Note, recorded just four months before his death.

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Eric Dolphy was among the most daring, impassioned, and technically assured improvisers to come of age in the 1960s. From his groundbreaking work with Chico Hamilton and Charles Mingus, through his catalytic stint with John Coltrane, and all through his brilliant solo recordings for Prestige, this reed innovator defined the best elements of the swing and the bebop traditions, from Benny Carter through Bird, while extending on the rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic freedom of Monk. Dolphy is an emotional shaman with a keen comic edge, as is evident in the rhythmic sauntering, drunken gait of his theme to "Straight Up and Down," and Monk's influence is clearly discernible in Dolphy's witty dissonances and vocalized blues phrasing throughout Out to Lunch! (his only Blue Note recording, completed shortly before his untimely death). Rhythm masters Richard Davis, Bobby Hutcherson, and Tony Williams suspend time at will, sculpting in open space, while deconstructing the harmony and superimposing cubist rhythmic displacements--periodically regrouping around Freddie Hubbard's bumblebee trumpet and the leader's vocalized bass clarinet (his Monkish "Hat and Beard"), wailing alto (the martial parodies of the title tune), and exhilarating flute (the lyric, swinging "Gazzelloni"). Out to Lunch! represents Dolphy's most fully realized vision. --Chip Stern
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 23, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Blue Note
  • Run Time: 42 minutes
  • ASIN: B00000I8UK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,527 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: 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.
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Format: 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.
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Format: 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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Format: Audio CD
We, the record company, have a brilliant idea - let's take Eric Dolphy's masterpiece, the beautiful "Out to Lunch", and remaster it. The old CD copy was just fine, but utilizing modern technology you could certainly craft one that was clearer and more vibrant to take advantage of the enhanced dynamic range of compact discs.

But we've got an even better idea - let's remaster the thing, but instead of improving its audio quality, we can actually *reduce* the dynamic range and definition. We'll do so by compressing the highs and lows, then raising this undefined block of sound to a higher default volume. The result will be a CD that absolutely POPS out of your speakers when you turn it on, and be more audible in noisy cars or shop rooms.

Oh, sure, people who want to actually listen to the music with their full attention in an ideal setting won't be well served - the tone will be flat and gratingly loud. But the album is so good, they'll put up with it. Maybe somebody will write an online review advising them to seek out the imperfect but far more dynamic and listenable early CD and LP versions of Out to Lunch, but we can live with that.
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