A new entry in the Rudy Van Gelder Remasters series from Fantasy/Concord, this is a revisited classic that sounds all the more impressive 45 years after its August 15, 1960 recording date.
Opening with a breakneck title piece, the energy never lightens, though the pace may slow. The tempo on "Serene" is medium, with Dolphy playing extraordinary bass clarinet, matched with impressive bass work from George Duvivier, who shares rhythm duties throughout with drummer Roy Haynes. On the lovely and lilting "Eclipse," Dolphy’s clarinet is matched brilliantly with Ron Carter’s cello. Carter shares the front line duties throughout most of the session. "The Baron" the most impressive of these collaborations, with Dolphy on bass clarinet, an instrument he mastered before most players were even aware of its existence.
"17 West" showcases Dolphy’s beautiful flute work, while allowing Carter, Duvivier and Haynes ample stretching room. "Sketches Of Melba," also played on flute, is heartachingly lush and the closing "Feathers," for which Dolphy returns to alto, is equally emotive, almost like Johnny Hodges on the edge of a ballad.
This strikes the writer as Eric Dolphy’s finesheart-achinglyt recording. Though Out To Lunch is more commonly cited as his master work, Out There stands strong against any recording of the past half century. It never stops challenging, cajoling, demanding, tantalizing or massaging the aural senses. In a five star world, this is a 10-star classic.