Eric Dolphy

Essential Albums

  • Out to Lunch!

Artist Playlists

About Eric Dolphy

Classically trained multi-instrumentalist Eric Dolphy shot like a comet across the outside-jazz firmament. Born in 1928, Dolphy was raised in Los Angeles, where he began studying saxophone and clarinet at age six. He made his first recordings as a saxophonist with bebop drummer Roy Porter in 1949 and returned to his hometown after a 1953 military discharge. In 1958, Dolphy moved to New York, where he took off on alto sax, bass clarinet, and flute in clubs like the Five Spot Café before making his debut as bandleader with Outward Bound in 1960. His idiosyncratic soloing style—an electrifying high-wire act of wild intervallic leaps, feral outbursts, and hyper-sophisticated chordal invention—can be heard on key recordings by Chico Hamilton, Charles Mingus, Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, and Oliver Nelson. Although Dolphy produced an abundant discography, his finest recordings as bandleader, Iron Man and ‘Out To Lunch!’, were released posthumously following Dolphy’s untimely death from undiagnosed diabetes in June 1964.

Los Angeles, CA, United States
June 20, 1928

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