Recorded January 10 and 11, 1995, at RPM Sound Studios, NYC.
Mixed February 25 and 26, 1995, at River Sound, NYC.
Harris and his septet hit the nail on the head for this dedication to Eric Dolphy, in fact they extend Dolphy's already innovative extroverted ramblings. Harris plays the Sigma acoustic bass guitar on this, his third date as a leader. Marty Ehrlich returns again (see CD's "Algorithms" and "In Passing") on alto saxophone, but particularly bass clarinet on three cuts. Vibist Bill Ware, trumpeter E.J. Allen, clarinetist Don Byron, trombonist Ray Anderson and drummer Bobby Previte round out a most versatile and far reaching ensemble of great improvisors. Of the nine cuts, seven are penned by Dolphy. The best known ones are "Iron Man," "Out To Lunch" and "Miss Ann" refreshingly adapted and redefined. The first of the triad has Previte's funky drums and frequent fills, Anderson's ribald, blaring trombone, Ehrlich's loopy bass clarinet and Byron's searching clarinet pitching in on an arrangement and solo array that is quite a departure from the original. "Lunch" is a fully orchestrated version, like a big band, replete with half swing time, blatant angularity, stretched harmonics, military march rhythms and rubato free segments. "Ann" bulids from a long, dour alto sax intro to Allen's trumpet chatters, bass and trombone solos, before the whole band chimes in. There are many instances as during the hard swinging, happy "G.W.," and the razor edged boppish "Mandrake" where Ware and Allen evoke sonic images of ex-Dolphy bandmates Bobby Hutcherson and Woody Shaw. "Far Cry" is an easy swinging number with Ehrlich's bass clarinet and Byron's clarinet leading to an easy swing into counterpointed brass. Two of Harris's originals have illuminating frameworks, the perfectly titled "Emanations" shines with vibes-clarinet-drums/cymbals luminosity, inspired by Stravinsky and Dolphy's speaking voice. The title track is a herky jerky spastic all-over-the-map melody to a harder swinging but similar motif. You also get "245/Les," a mornful blues ballad to up bop and back schizoid ghost buster, with Byron's clarinet most closely representing Dolphy's laughing, cajoling signature sound. Because few fete Dolphy in the first place, plus these expert jazzmen are quite taken by his unique music, this recording comes up all aces.
-Michael G. Nastos (All Music Guide)