From his unorthodox arrangements to the many time distortions that are present in his music, he should fit in pretty well to the free jazz movement, but Eric Dolphy is a bit more complex than that. On top of all this, he manages to implement tonal bebop solos into a lot of his works, which is a nice combination of conventional and avant-garde approaches to jazz arrangements. Even then, Dolphy wasn't done, because he was also known for drawing from modernist composers like Bela Bartok and Igor Stravinsky as influences, which you can only imagine would affect his music for the better. These influences led to the implementation of techniques such as parlando articulations, or, for the non-musicians here at the LNMC, making your instrument sound like its speaking, a la Messiaen. The point is, the Dolphy was a very studied musician and it showed in his music, which is just about the best thing any musical scholar could ask for.
Got any favorite saxophonists?