Eric Allan Dolphy, Jr. (June 20, 1928 – June 29, 1964) was an American jazz alto saxophonist, flautist, and bass clarinetist. On a few occasions, he also played the clarinet, piccolo, and baritone saxophone. Dolphy was one of several multi-instrumentalists to gain prominence in the 1960s. He was one of the first important bass clarinet soloists in jazz, extended the vocabulary and boundaries of the alto saxophone, and was among the earliest significant jazz flute soloists.
His improvisational style was characterized by the use of wide intervals, in addition to using an array of extended techniques to reproduce human- and animal-like effects which almost literally made his instruments speak. Although Dolphy's work is sometimes classified as free jazz, his compositions and solos were often rooted in conventional (if highly abstracted) tonal bebop harmony and melodic lines that suggest the influences of modern classical composers Béla Bartók and Igor Stravinsky.