8

Dexter Gordon: North Sea Jazz Legendary Concerts

Chris May By

Sign in to view read count
Dexter Gordon: North Sea Jazz Legendary Concerts 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 years based in Paris and Copenhagen. Fronting a take-no-prisoners American quartet, Gordon is on rousing form, tearing through passionate, rough-edged solos on "It's You Or No One" and "Backstairs" (two tunes, the second a Gordon original, from his 1977 US comeback album, Homecoming, on Columbia) and getting gently rapturous between times on "More Than You Know." The two high-temperature tracks are so intensely dynamic they are practically trance inducing. Gordon is accompanied with verve by Eddie Gladden on drums, Rufus Reid on bass and Kirk Lightsey on piano. Sound quality is excellent, of recording-studio quality. The DVD is a delight, too; functionally but well filmed, getting in close on the musicians' faces and drawing the viewer in.

The closing track, billed as a Tenor Battle, is taken from a separate performance later the same evening. Gordon is joined by four other tenor saxophonists—Budd Johnson, Illinois Jacquet, Arnett Cobb and Buddy Tate—for a romp through "Flying Home," made into a hit for the Lionel Hampton band in 1942 by Jacquet's honking and screaming solo. Johnson takes the first solo, Gordon the second and Jacquet the third. There is not much "battling" going on, although Gordon briefly quotes from Jacquet's classic solo before Jacquet plays all of it. At less than ten minutes playing time, a country mile from outstaying its welcome, it is a shame that Cobb and Tate were not also given the chance to solo.

By the end of "Flying Home," practically the entire audience is on its feet, cheering the band on, just as audiences did for Hampton back in the day. The entire audience, that is, except for a solitary Mr Grumpy fleetingly caught by the camera slumped morosely in his seat. It is a déjà vu moment, for when Hampton played in London sometime in the late 1950s/early 1960s, British saxophonist Johnny Dankworth (as he was then known) greeted "Flying Home" with the heckle "Play some jazz!" You want barely relevant trivia, you got it.


Track Listing: CD & DVD: It’s You Or No One; More Than You Know; Backstairs; Flying Home.

Personnel: CD & DVD: Dexter Gordon: tenor saxophone; Kirk Lightsey: piano (1-3); Hank Jones: piano (4); Rufus Reid: bass (1-3); Gene Ramey: bass (4); Eddie Gladden: drums (1-3); Gus Johnson: drums (4); Budd Johnson: tenor saxophone (4); Illinois Jacquet: tenor saxophone (4); Arnett Cobb: tenor saxophone (4); Buddy Tate: tenor saxophone (4).

Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Bob City Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "San Ygnacio" CD/LP/Track Review San Ygnacio
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 8, 2016
Read "Instant Oats" CD/LP/Track Review Instant Oats
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 18, 2016
Read "Life Compass On!" CD/LP/Track Review Life Compass On!
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 5, 2017
Read "Kjølvatn" CD/LP/Track Review Kjølvatn
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 25, 2016
Read "Together, As One" CD/LP/Track Review Together, As One
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 7, 2016
Read "Getting All The Evil Of The Piston Collar!" CD/LP/Track Review Getting All The Evil Of The Piston Collar!
by Budd Kopman
Published: October 3, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!