This 1961 set has appeared under Eric Dolphy's name, but it is, in fact, bassist Ron Carter's date -- his first as a leader. Carter and Dolphy had played together in Chico Hamilton's group and on Dolphy's important 1960 date Out There. Where? has elements in common with both, but is closer to Hamilton's late-'50s chamber jazz than to the more outward-bound Dolphy date. As on the Dolphy session, Carter is heard on cello for three of the six tracks. Carter's skill is undeniable, but his playing on Where? is a bit polite and monochromatic. The easygoing duet with George Duvivier, for example, is a quiet, back-porch conversation that makes few demands on either of these bass giants. Dolphy -- playing bass clarinet, alto sax, and flute -- is a far more interesting prospect, even if he doesn't blow his face off to the extent he did in other settings. Pianist Mal Waldron is characteristically dry, economical, and swinging. Drummer Charlie Persip quietly impresses with thoughtful, detailed work. Duvivier is on bass when Carter plays cello. The tracks comprise two Carter originals, two standards, and a pair of Randy Weston numbers. Weston's "Saucer Eyes," the album's best track, features a strong group performance, a superbly laconic statement from Waldron, Dolphy's ebullient flute, and captivating brush work from Persip. Carter's "Rally," with Dolphy's freewheeling bass clarinet and the composer's most adventurous cello work on this set, is closest in spirit to Dolphy's own dates from this period.
AllMusic Review by Jim Todd