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There is no shortage of Dexter Gordon sessions available on disc. Even with sporadic absences from recording Long Tall Dex still managed to cut a mammoth number of records during his illustrious career. With so much available there’s bound to be a continuum when it comes to quality. While this disc isn’t a classic on par with say much of his Blue Note work it still offers up immediate proof of why he resides in the upper echelon of the tenor saxophone hierarchy. Waxed during one of Gordon’s habitual returns to the States the supporting cast on hand for this one is just as impressive. According to journalist Lloyd Sach’s who pens the liners this was the first recorded meeting between Gordon and Thad Jones and as if that weren’t enough the added presence of Hank, Louis Hayes and Stanley Clarke further stack the deck in favor of greatness.
The program, a mix of standards and originals, doesn’t offer much in the way of new material, but it does provide the players with familiar melodic terrain on which to improvise. Gordon sounds calm, cool and collected from the opening strains of the title track taking a quick succession of choruses before opening things up to the Jones brothers and Clarke. Clarke, a mere lad of 21 at the time of this date, lays down thick bass lines on his amplified upright strings that are an interesting portent to his work in later years as a leader. His globular walking figures on “August Blues” are similarly groove-laced. Gordon’s own “What It Was” is a colorful product of the era fueled by a bouncing boogaloo beat that allows both saxophone and flugelhorn ample space to shimmy expressively. The final track, a remainder from an earlier session switches rhythm section and brass and Hubbard in particular seems to revel in his reunion with Gordon. What’s on tap here is largely interchangeable with the rest of Gordon’s work of the period, but considering the credentials of the bartender it’s still a brew guaranteed to intoxicate the senses.Tracks:Tangerine/ August Blues/ What It Was/ Days of Wine and Roses/ The Group*.
Players:Dexter Gordon- tenor saxophone; Thad Jones- trumpet; Hank Jones- piano; Stanley Clarke- bass; Louis Hayes- drums; Freddie Hubbard- trumpet*; Cedar Walton- piano*; Buster Williams- bass*; Billy Higgins- drums*.
Recorded: June 22 & 28, 1972, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.