Eric Dolphy: Out There (1960) Prestige UK Esquire


Selection 1: Feathers (Hale Smith)

Selection 2: Serene (Dolphy)

Something both malevolant and beautiful about the avant-garde’s treatment of tenderness, peace and tranquility, exposing flashes of barely concealed danger, somewhere Freddie Krueger is loose in Snow White’s boudoir.


Eric Dolphy (as, bcl, fl, cl) Ron Carter (vc) George Duvivier (b) Roy Haynes (d) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, August 15, 1960

Year: context 1960


Wanting to join the exclusive nuclear club, France tests its first atomic bomb, in the Sahara Desert. Luckily most Saharans were out, returning home only to find the place looked like a bomb had hit it. Sand everywhere. After cleaning up the mess, Sahara  joins the growing Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.


A month after recording with Mingus at Antibes, Out There is Dolphy’s  second album as leader, the follow up to Outward Bound.

Dolphy stands uniquely original with his veritable arsenal of wind instruments – alto, bass clarinet, flute, b-flat clarinet, Kalashnikov AK-47. Not content with mayhem in the lead instrument department  Dolphy doubles up in the bass department, bringing in Ron Carter on cello beside George Duvivier on bass, and just to confuse everyone, the unflappable swing drummer, Roy Haynes. Even before the needle hits the groove you know you are going to be in for an unpredictable listening experience. This was one of the few records I have been initially frightened to play, listening in safety from behind the sofa.

One can only  imagine how  strange it must have sounded to audiences in 1960, not previously exposed to such eclecticism. Nowadays we think we have heard it all, but not like this.Released three years before Dolphy let loose the avant-garde bible Out to Lunch, Out There is more ambitious and jagged than Outward Bound. Compared with the music around it in 1960, it is an unusual album by any standard, approaching tonality in a non-linear and harshly harmonic way few others, before or after, have ever attempted.

Vinyl: Esquire 32-153 UK first release

MI0001408022For once, Esquire may have got it right in the musician-as-hero alternative cover department.

It’s a change from their usual budget-typography-and-graphics, homing in on the persona of Dolphy at play rather than Prestige’s choice of surrealist painting, though that too seems quite fitting to the music in its own way. Unfortunately, it is very hard to find – affordably, as an original.

Like all other Esquire 32-000 series, it is pressed with original Prestige metalwork – an RVG master – though no indication of the US manufacturer, no AB.  The bonus, as a UK pressing, it is free from the risk of recycled vinyl contamination which marrs some original New Jazz pressings.


Rear cover conforms to the expected chronology, of later Esquire first pressings


Collector’s Corner




London record store in the fashionable West of London still awaiting delivery of its “LJC Shops Here” blue plaque. An unexpected find, one of the rare pleasures of flicking through shelves of lesser works, stops you in your tracks, however, inflicting some pain in the credit card department. You wouldn’t expect fine champagne for the ears for the price of a can of lager would you? The store manager knows his stuff. Unfortunately.


Latest comment in a record 89 SPAM posts received in one day at LJC

Appreciating the time and energy you put into your site and detailed information you present. It’s great to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same out of date rehashed material.Excellent read!  (Professional teeth whitening strips)

and 88 others.  It’s all true.Thank you, thank you so much.


25 thoughts on “Eric Dolphy: Out There (1960) Prestige UK Esquire

  1. What a find! I am thoroughly addicted to your blog now. I truly laugh out loud at your style and quips. Keep it up!

  2. as I wrote before, Eric is one of my Gods: little by little, one after the other, I got ’em all and, having been called an original fundamentalist, yes, they are all original.
    try to guess which record WITH Dolphy has been the most difficult to find for me.

  3. What a nice find — a splendid record, and SERENE is such a gorgeous track. Fingers on buzzers, please… Now: on what record did Dolphy also appear with a doubled-up bass row (Carter on cello plus a bass player), just slightly over one year prior to this date?

      • Mal Waldron’s excellent THE QUEST, recorded at Rudy Van Gelder Studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on June 27, 1961. Later pressings sometimes attribute the album to Eric but it was a Mal Waldron date – he was the leader. I won’t post the link because it will bugger up the look of the blog but google WARM CANTO (there’s a recording on Youtube) and tell me you don’t feel a shiver down your spine. Mal on piano, Eric on bass clarinet and Ron on cello. A secret masterpiece of hushed intensity.

        • Thanks Alun
          I bought that record years ago, and it has sat on my shelf forgotten about for most of that time. Duquility sounds amazing. Can’t wait for side two and ‘Warm Canto’.

        • Don’t forget Fire Waltz! Definitely a top 20 lp for me. And don’t know how exactly, but this lp made me check out Evidence by Steve lacy. Also a favorite of mine.

          • “The Quest” is indeed a fine album as well, but LJC was right in his own way. “Where?” had Ron Carter/George Duvivier and Waldron/Dolphy as well. It was recorded in 1961, too.

          • Niels, I believe Fire Waltz _is_ Mal Waldron’s THE QUEST and Ken McIntyre’s LOOKING AHEAD — at least, that’s what my cheap Prestige two-fer of that title consists of… A great budget way of finding both of these records if anyone is looking — the 70s Prestige two-fers rarely cost more than £8. And damn it — I just missed a copy of Lacey’s EVIDENCE recently, although I did find his excellent Monk set with Mal Waldron, REFLECTIONS.

            And talking of Mal Waldron, I recently managed to find his 80s set, SEAGULLS OF KRISTIANSUND, live at the Village Vanguard (Soul Note). The title track is a full one-side of the record, a looping, brooding, atmospheric piece…

            • Alun,
              I’m now wondering what possessed me to buy The Quest and then file it away for so long. A fantastic listen and Booker Ervin sounds astounding.

              • We all squirrel things away like this. But records (and books) are never quite forgotten on the shelves: they’re just waiting for that mysterious convergence of circumstances that means their time has arrived…

            • Yes, I know. I was referring to Fire Waltz on the Quest 😉 I have a version on the UK XTRA label which is excellent. And also a Dutch version, on the Orange Artone label , which uses the same RVG stampers as the original Prestige and UK Esquire label. If you ever see those. Buy them! They’re fantastic and cheap. At least here in Holland. Around 20 euro’s in excellent condition. And lots of great titles available. By the way Fire Waltz is also on Eric Dolphy at the Five Spot vol 1. Great version. I’ll check the Waldron lp out!

  4. I have never been able to get a copy of this records, so add an angry Envy smile for me! I was debating on waiting for the Quality press reissue due next year. On another note. I did manage to get a copy of “The Latin Jazz Quintet with Eric Dolphy – Caribe.” Beautiful Blue wavy cover, Blue trident, RVG stamp in Near Mint condition. Hell YEEEESSSS!!

    • Caribé is a great album, indeed. You do realize that the blue trident label indicates a second pressing, right? The original is a purple label New Jazz pressing. Not that it matters of course, I also have the blue trident pressing by the way. But it’s a brilliant album anyhow, my favorite tracks being Mambo Ricci, Blues in 6/8 Time and Sunday Go Meeting.

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