Tenor saxophone legend Dexter Gordon lived for much of the '60s and '70s in Copenhagen. Popular with the media as well as with the fans, Gordon was a regular on radio and TV. On the afternoon of August 5, 1967, he played a special concert at the Magleaas Højskole, a college for aspiring musicians. Danish TV recorded the event and a mere 47 years later three of the tunes are available on high-quality vinyl (plus a download code), courtesy of London's Gearbox Records, as Soy Califa: Live From Magleaas Højskole 1967. Far better late than never. The tunes--a ...read more
The North Sea Jazz festival has an immense archive of filmed concert performances, which makes its Legendary Concerts CD/DVD series an eye-wateringly interesting prospect. The first eight volumes--featuring tenor saxophonists Dexter Gordon, Yuri Honing and Wayne Shorter, pianist Michael Borstlap, guitarist Jan Akkerman, and trumpeters Miles Davis, Eric Vloeimans and Dizzy Gillespie--are all cherry-pickingly good, and more releases are planned. Already, Legendary Concerts is a major event. Recorded and filmed at The Hague's Carrousel Zaal during the 1979 festival, Dexter Gordon's performance was among the first he gave in Europe after relocating back to the US following fifteen ...read more
Legendary tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon was a focal point of the bebop and hard bop revolutions. Later in his career, he achieved the status of an American icon with his lead role in Bernard Tavernier's 1986 film, Round Midnight, which garnered him an Academy Award nomination. His homecoming" in New York City, after living in Europe for over a decade, resembled that of the main character in the film, although the scripted role is known to be a synthesis of the lives of pianist Bud Powell and saxophonist Lester Young. When he passed away in 1990, Dexter Gordon left behind ...read more
Reissued as part of the Warner Jazz Elektra Masters series, tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon's American Classic was originally released in 1982. It was part of a late-period American renaissance enjoyed by Gordon, who, after 15 years in Europe, had made a much lauded return to the New York club scene in the mid 1970s. Gordon's renaissance took on even wider currency in 1986 with the release of Bertrand Tavernier's movie Round Midnight, in which Gordon took the star role, an amalgam of fellow boppers pianist Bud Powell and alto saxophonist Charlie Parker.
In truth, Gordon was playing himself ...read more
Dexter Gordon Doin' Allright Blue Note / Music Matters 2009 (1961)
From the first track of this record--in Blue Note's 45rpm double-disc reissue series--tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon certainly seems to be doing just fine. That opener, I Was Doing All Right," lilts along with a nice 'n' easy, early 1960s treatment of an insistently positive George Gershwin melody. Gordon doesn't rush his solo, but allows it to intensify naturally from the surrounding breeze. He explores the entire range of his instrument, allowing his pace to ebb and flow while never jettisoning himself from the ...read more
As shoddily put together compilations go, tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon's three-disc Blue Note collection, Best Of 3CD, scrapes rock bottom. From the asinine title, through the inadequate liner annotation (no recording dates, no original album titles, misspelled musicians' names), to the full page photo of Roland Kirk, in simultaneous saxello, stritch and manzello flight, on the inner gatefold cover, it's a lame effort. And it gets worse. That photo is followed by another double-page photo of Kirk, this one unambiguously titled Dexter Gordon," on the centerfold of the liner booklet.
Take a bow EMI France, who put the ...read more
Various Artists Jazz Icons Series 2 Box Set Reelin' in the Years 2007
While the advent of the DVD has resulted in the unearthing of a virtual treasure trove of archival live video performances, many available for the first time in any format, the quality can often be hit-and-miss. Not so with the Jazz Icons series of DVDs, the first series hitting the streets in 2006. It's been written that this outstanding series of live performances by legendary jazz artists is to jazz what the renowned Criterion Collection has been ...read more
Various Artists Jazz Icons Series 2 Box Set Reelin' in the Years 2007
No matter how often you've listened to John Coltrane playing My Favorite Things," there's nothing quite like watching him work his magic in a live performance that gives an entire new life to that Richard Rodgers melody. In crisp, glorious black and white, Coltrane's musical exploration is just one of dozens of thrilling moments in the new Jazz Icons series. These Coltrane sets from Germany and Belgium in 1960, 1961 and 1965 are especially valuable as markers in a ...read more
"The Tower of Power," Long Tall," LT"--you don't acquire such noms de troubadour by being retiring or inconspicuous in your approach to making music. Indeed, Dexter Gordon is such a forceful presence and commanding storyteller that he can be a heavy load, requiring nothing less than the listener's undivided attention. Gettin' Around, a 2006 release of a 2005 Rudy Van Gelder-remastered 1965 session, reveals a more dulcet and demure Gordon. He softens his sound, holds back on the searing top tones, evens out his vibrato, and takes more than a page out of the Lester Young book: this is Gordon ...read more
It is no secret that Dexter Gordon relocated to Europe for much of the 1960s, but he did return to the US sporadically for recording sessions. This recently reissued album, recorded at Rudy Van Gelder's legendary Englewood Cliffs studio, was cut during one of those return visits.
The musicians who join L.T.D. are some of the finest on their respective instruments: vibraphone master Bobby Hutcherson, pianist Barry Harris, bassist Bob Crenshaw and drummer Billy Higgins. Their backing is first-rate and the leader responds with an excellent effort of his own. Gordon is in his element here, telling epic ...read more
An arterial link between Lester Young and the hard bop tenor saxophonists of the late '50s and early '60s, Dexter Gordon's brilliance and significance are today remembered mostly as an afterthought. Partly this is Gordon's own fault: after his prolific vanguard activities of the '40s, the '50s were for him a wasteland of heroin addiction, with few recording sessions or landmark live appearances. He's off the page of most jazz chronicles from the period.
Happily, though, Gordon's most on-fire recordings survive. Gettin' Around was made during his unexpected and magnificent renaissance on Blue Note in the mid '60s. Its inclusion ...read more
Despite its mixed sonic quality, Bopland is a historic three-CD treasure. It contains as much as could be gleaned from surviving acetates of a July 6, 1947 jazz summit featuring some of the West Coast's finest emerging musicians at the time. It was a mere two to three years after Charlie Parker and his collaborators began changing the face of modern jazz, principally in New York. This evening concert at the Elks Club in L.A.--billed as an evening for dancers as much as pure listeners--featured four different combinations of players. Among the featured soloists were saxophonists Dexter Gordon, ...read more
The latest offering from the seemingly bottomless Danmarks Radio Archive, Ladybird presents another air shot of Gordon's lengthy mid-1960s Café Montmarte stint. Dex's sizable cachet as an expatriate jazz icon prompted a nightly spooling of the tape machines. The resulting cache, so far doled out one set at a time, documents a particularly fertile time for the saxophonist. Shortly after arriving on European shores, he teamed with pianist Kenny Drew and a top-flight pair of locals in the persons of Pedersen and Riel, set up shop and enjoyed a more relaxed lifestyle than the scuffling of his earlier Big Apple ...read more
Dexter Gordon Mosaic Select 14 Mosaic Records (B2-70985) 2004 While tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon, long considered the bebop progenitor on his axe, recorded a number of classic sides for Blue Note in the '60s, including Go! and A Swingin' Affair , as well as seminal albums for Prestige including The Resurgence of Dexter Gordon and Setting the Pace , it's a surprising fact that he never had a steady working band until he was in his mid-50s,.in the spring of '77. Maybe it's because Gordon spent so much time travelling between ...read more
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