Dolphy In All His Glory
El Lagarto | Sandown, NH | 06/04/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Even Charles Mingus, a tough critic of just about everything, couldn't find anything nasty to say about Eric Dolphy, referring to him as a saint, not just as a player but as a man. Dolphy was known to be incredibly dedicated; he would frequently disappear at parties only to be found practicing one horn or another on a fire escape or other private place. His early, and completely avoidable death, has added even more shine to his halo. Today he holds a well-earned seat in the pantheon of great ones likes Coltrane, Bird, Young, and Hawkins. However, his residence there is more the result of his astonishing technical virtuosity than his contribution to moving the music forward.
Dolphy could play anything with keypads, he had an almost Faustian brilliance. But the dirty little secret about Dolphy is that often he was doing nothing more than running up and down the stairs. One might marvel at his ability without being moved. His famous rendition of God Bless The Child, on bass clarinet, is only the most blatant example of this syndrome. He touches the melody as a child touches base when playing tag, runs up and down the stairs for a few minutes, touches base again, and repeats the cycle.
When he is at his very best is when he's most lyrical, and in Far Cry he really delivers the goods. The early tracks cook; providing lots of room for Booker Little to dazzle with his own technical prowess. Then, mysteriously, it's almost as if Booker Little leaves the building and Dolphy takes center stage. From there on out, you are treated to some of the most exquisite Dolphy solos ever recorded. The flute playing is especially select, (he has no rival when it comes to jazz flute), but the alto on Tenderly is astounding and the bass clarinet on It's Magic, while overdone, showcases Dolphy's command of the instrument and ability to stretch a melody brilliantly without abandoning it. Collecting Dolphy is a hit or miss proposition, he recorded a lot and there is inconsistency in both the material and performances. Here there is only gold. Highly recommended."
Early 1960s Classic
David Conklin | Albuquerque, NM USA | 06/04/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This creative set of "advanced hard-bop" (if this music can be characterized) has become one of my favorite jazz albums from the early 1960s. FAR CRY is mellower and more accessible than Dolphy's better known OUT TO LUNCH, recorded a few years later. It features the multi-talented Dolphy on alto sax, bass clarinet, and flute; Booker Little, one of my all-time favorite trumpeters; and a great rhythm section of Jaki Byard (piano), Ron Carter (bass), and Roy Haynes (drums). Dolphy and Little were a truly unique and wonderful front-line pair. The disc includes 8 great songs--and no alternate takes! I am enjoying this CD more with each listen. The flute and trumpet harmonies on "Ode to Charlie Parker" are delightful. Haynes's percussion is splendid throughout. An earlier reviewer suggested that the songs didn't really fit well together; personally, I don't find this a problem and enjoy the variety and contrasts on this album.
If you can find one (currently there are still a few available from Amazon 3rd-party sources), I heartily recommend the 20-Bit K2 remastered version. The older OJC (Original Jazz Classics) disc is the one listed here."