16

Dexter Gordon: Soy Califa: Live From Magleaas Højskole 1967

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
Dexter Gordon: Soy Califa: Live From Magleaas Højskole 1967 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 fiery, fast take on Gordon's "Soy Califa"; the slow burn of Johnny Mandel's "The Shadow Of Your Smile" and a stomping, energetic version of Sonny Stitt and Gene Ammons' "The Blues Up And Down"—all show Gordon and his compatriots in excellent form.

It might not have been too surprising if a local rhythm section had been employed for the date. Denmark was a popular destination for American jazzers at the time and the Danish TV budget was obviously pretty good, so the locals weren't required. Gordon's quartet was completed by Kenny Drew, 21-year-old Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen and Albert "Tootie" Heath—a lineup fit for New York or London's finest jazz establishments, never mind an afternoon college gig.

After Gordon wails out the title of "Soy Califa" Heath is the first man to make his mark: right at the front of the mix, his cymbals driving the tune's insistent rhythm. Drew's percussive chords punctuate the rhythm while Gordon lets fly with a solo that moves from hard blowing beats to up-tempo swing. "The Shadow Of Your Smile" is cool and graceful, Gordon's tenor sound is at its smokiest and Drew's piano accompaniment perfectly complements the melody while his solo delicately captures the melancholy of the lyric.

"The Blues Up And Down"—or, as Gordon introduces it, "The Blues, Up And Down, Down And Up, East Side, West Side, All Around The Town, The Blues"—just flies. Quick, slick and hugely entertaining, this is an object lesson in the blues as positive, life-affirming, music. It's also the tune that gives Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen the spotlight, with a fat-toned and fluid solo that uses the full range of his bass.

Soy Califa: Live From Magleaas Højskole 1967 closes with the sound of the audience enthusiastically and deservedly applauding the quartet's performance. The lucky few in the room that afternoon no doubt heard far more than is presented here, but Gearbox has once again done a sterling job in bringing a forgotten gem to the fore.

Track Listing: Soy Califa; The Shadow Of Your Smile; The Blues Up And Down.

Personnel: Dexter Gordon: tenor saxophone; Kenny Drew: piano; Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen: double bass; Albert "Tootie" Heath: drums.

Title: Soy Califa: Live From Magleaas Højskole 1967 | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Gearbox Records


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Open Book CD/LP/Track Review Open Book
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Stolen Moments CD/LP/Track Review Stolen Moments
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Sonder CD/LP/Track Review Sonder
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Putting Off Death CD/LP/Track Review Putting Off Death
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends CD/LP/Track Review Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Heaven On Their Minds CD/LP/Track Review Heaven On Their Minds
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: August 16, 2017
Read "Tangle" CD/LP/Track Review Tangle
by John Eyles
Published: December 3, 2016
Read "Day and Night" CD/LP/Track Review Day and Night
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 18, 2017
Read "Z Octet" CD/LP/Track Review Z Octet
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 19, 2016
Read "Sopranoville: New Works for the Prepared and Non-Prepared Saxophone" CD/LP/Track Review Sopranoville: New Works for the Prepared and Non-Prepared...
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 13, 2017
Read "Live At Maxwell's" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Maxwell's
by Budd Kopman
Published: September 23, 2016
Read "Music Box Music" CD/LP/Track Review Music Box Music
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 8, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.