Upon his return from the Mingus tour, Dolphy recorded Out There, which includes three originals, the Dolphy-Mingus title cut, and Mingus' "Eclipse," among others. "Serene," a Dolphy original, is stylistically similar to "Self-Portrait in Three Colors," and could have been included on the dessert island disc Mingus Ah Um. Like "Self-Portrait," and even "Goodbye Porkpie Hat," "Serene" has a beautiful wandering sense about it--notable especially in its unique harmonic head--as if the tune can't decide what it should make you feel. Another of the originals, "The Baron," is a tribute to Mingus, who referred to himself as Baron Mingus. In this piece, Mingus' ambiguous ramblings and verbal tirades are made incarnate by Ron Carter's scratchy cello lines. You can almost picture Mingus saying, "I'm not sure this is working. What are you playing? What is this? Give me something! NOW!" Two of the most mellifluous pieces are the covers "Sketch of Melba" and "Feathers," the last two cuts on the CD. After listening to "Feathers," check out "The Star-Crossed Lovers" on Ellington's Such Sweet Thunder for an interesting compositional and harmonic comparison. Dolphy, strangely enough, sounds as close to Johnny Hodges as he ever would.
Four years later, in February of 1964, Dolphy would record Out to Lunch and really affix himself to the jazz map. After another tour with the Mingus Sextet and a few recording dates as a sideman, Dolphy was scheduled to record with Albert Ayler in Europe in June of 1964. Tragically, however, the young avant-garde multi-instrumentalist died at 36 of an overdose exacerbated by diabetic complications. Jazz lost one of its great, gentle giants.