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Outward Bound (RVG Remaster)

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Album Review

Eric Dolphy was already in his thirties when he recorded his first date as a leader, though he had a startling impact as a multi-reed player with a distinctive sound on each of his instruments. Joined by a first-rate group of musicians, including the brilliant pianist Jaki Byard (who also worked along side Dolphy in Charles Mingus' group), the promising young trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, bassist George Tucker and drummer Roy Haynes, Dolphy wields each of his axes with an innovative sound. On alto sax, he builds upon the foundation of Charlie Parker, though he remains more accessible than Ornette Coleman with his reference to chordal structure. His angular original "G.W." provides a driving introduction, while his upbeat "Les" finds him stretching his instrument even more. Dolphy's flute playing has long been underrated and he doesn't disappoint with his moving take of "Glad to Be Unhappy" and the adventurous "April Fool" (which was omitted from the original album and previously issued on the anthology Here and There). Dolphy was hardly the first jazz musician to play the bass clarinet, but he was the first to give it a prominent role as a major solo voice, particularly in a small group. His vocal-like solos in the amusing "Miss Toni" and the chugging, infectious interpretation of the standard "On Green Dolphin Street" demonstrate that this reed normally relegated to providing background color had far greater potential when in the hands of a virtuoso willing to experiment. In spite of his youth, Hubbard's solo and ensemble work is very polished, while Byard proves invaluable in his support of the front line, as well as contributing terrific solos. This new edition of Outward Bound, beautifully remastered in 24-bit resolution by the legendary Rudy Van Gelder (the original session engineer), is well worth acquiring, whether or not one possesses earlier editions of this landmark recording.

Outward Bound (RVG Remaster), Eric Dolphy Quintet
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