Recorded July 1 and 3, 1963, NYC
Previously released on Douglas Records.
Remaster liner notes:
"This is one of two CDs that document the most innovative studio sessions in Eric Dolphy's musical career. Both appear for the first time with their original LP cover artwork and digitally remastered from the original stereo tapes produced by Alan Douglas in the summer of 1963."
Original liner notes:
"This record was produced during the early part of 1964, when Eric Dolphy and producer Alan Douglas decided to experiment with Eric's original compositions.
Two approaches were agreed upon. One was of clear simplicity; Eric on reed instruments and Richard Davis on bass. The other was more involved - a ten piece orchestra of young men who understood and admired Eric's work."
The recording sessions took place late at night in a very relaxed studio for five successive nights. In this environment the playing of Eric Dolphy, Richard Davis and the other musicians was unbelievably inspired. So much was created, individual compositions went from "almost commercial" to "very far out."
Two albums were produced from that beautiful week. The first, called 'Conversations,' was released through FM Records (now available through the Roulette Record catalogue). On this, the second, is incorporated performances that were considered too futuristic to put out at that time.
Eric died in 1964, and he would have been happy to know this L.P. has been released. Douglas International thanks Mrs. Sadie Dolphy, Eric's mother, and John Carter for their help in recreating one of the most imaginative experiences in Eric Dolphy's musical career."
The companion piece to Conversations (recorded at the same mid-1963 sessions with producer Alan Douglas), Iron Man is every bit as essential and strikes a more consistent ambience than its widely varied twin. It also more clearly anticipates the detailed, abstract sound paintings of Dolphy's masterwork Out to Lunch, in large part because this time around the program is weighted toward Dolphy originals. "Iron Man," "Burning Spear," and the shorter "Mandrake" all have pretty outside themes, full of Dolphy's trademark wide interval leaps and playful sense of dissonance. Yet there's enough structure and swing to make their roots in hard bop perfectly clear, and once the front-line horns blast out the themes, the ensemble shifts into a more cerebral, exploratory mode. In the absence of a piano, Bobby Hutcherson's vibes are a crucial anchor, outlining dissonant harmonies that hang in the air almost spectrally behind the rest of the group. Most of the same musicians from Conversations appear here, including trumpeter Woody Shaw, flutist Prince Lasha, altoist Sonny Simmons, and soprano sax player Clifford Jordan. And once again, Dolphy duets with bassist Richard Davis, twice this time - on bass clarinet for Ellington's "Come Sunday" and on flute for Jaki Byard's "Ode to C.P." Both are lovely, meditative pieces filled with conversational exchanges between the two players, illustrating what similar wavelengths they were on. Between Conversations and Iron Man, split up the way they are, one has to give a slight edge to the latter for its more cohesive presentation, yet these are classic sessions in any form and constitute some of the most brilliant work of the early-'60s avant-garde.
All Music Guide