Only six years separated Eric Dolphy's first public recognition as a member of Chico Hamilton's Quintet and premature death on June 29, 1964, but during that short period the remarkable Los Angeles-born multi-instrumentalist created enough unique music to inspire several generations of players. Not only did Dolphy have instantly recognizable yet very different sounds on alto, bass clarinet (a horn that he virtually introduced to jazz as a solo instrument), and flute, but he developed his own musical vocabulary with it original logic and innovative approach to harmony.
The busiest period of Eric Dolphy's too-brief career was during 1960 and 1961 when his recordings as a leader were made exclusively for Prestige and its New Jazz subsidiary. On the definitive nine-CD boxed set, all of Dolphy's Prestige/New Jazz sessions are reissued complete and in chronological order, including the albums Outward Bound, Here and There, Out There, Caribé, Far Cry, Straight Ahead, and Eric Dolphy in Europe as well as the marathon Five Spot sessions with trumpeter Booker Little, and dates as a sideman with Oliver Nelson, Ken McIntyre, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Ron Carter, and Mal Waldron. Among the other notable musicians heard on these timeless performances are trumpeters Freddie Hubbard and Richard Williams, tenor saxophonist Booker Ervin, pianists Jaki Byard, Richard Wyands, Walter Bishop, Jr. and Mal Waldron, bassists George Duvivier, Sam Jones, and Richard Davis, and drummers Roy Haynes, Charlie Persip, Arthur Taylor, and Ed Blackwell.
Over three decades later Eric Dolphy's music is still stimulating, exciting, and fresh. It was clearly ahead of its time.