Dexter Gordon: Round Midnight: Motion Picture Soundtrack (2002)
Senior Contributor since 1997Jim Santella has been contributing CD reviews, concert reviews and DVD reviews to AAJ since 1997. His work has also appeared in Southland Blues, The L.A. Jazz Scene, and Cadence Magazine.
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Directed by Bertrand Tavernier, Round Midnight is a fictional story that combines the careers of Bud Powell and Lester Young into one character. The soundtrack stands out as one of the greatest jazz film scores ever issued. Everything was recorded live. This reissue also features a bonus track, from Dexter Gordon's Homecoming: Live At The Village Vanguard (Columbia, 1976).
As the lead character, Gordon interprets "Body and Soul" and a few other pieces that provide appropriate impressions for the story. His acting and playing go hand in hand. Gordon's tenor places Lester Young in the ear and mind's eye of the audience. Billy Higgins and Herbie Hancock anchor a session high in quality and filled with emotion. When the script calls for something eerie, they provide it. By inverting the harmonic structure of Bud Powell's "Time Waits," Hancock creates "Still Time," which moves soothingly along a fairy-tale path. Daydreams and nightmares come and go, while an all-star jazz cast provides the charm. A twin-tenor battle with Wayne Shorter, a hard bop quintet romp with Freddie Hubbard, and several classic ballads form a memorable soundtrack. As well as paying homage to pioneers Powell and Young, the film's music serves as a tribute to many other bebop, hard bop, and post-bop innovators.
Track Listing: 'Round Midnight; Body and Soul; B
Personnel: Dexter Gordon- tenor saxophone; Herbie Hancock, Cedar Walton, Ronnie Mathews- piano; Pierre Michelot, Ron Carter, Stafford James- bass; Billy Higgins, Tony Williams, Louis Hayes- drums; John McLaughlin- guitar; Bobby Hutcherson- vibraphone; Freddie Hubbard- trumpet; Woody Shaw- trumpet, flugelhorn; Chet Baker- vocals, trumpet; Wayne Shorter- tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone; Bobby McFerrin- wordless vocals; Lonette McKee- vocal on "How Long Has This Been Going On?".