Alon Marcus

Dexter Gordon

388 posts in this topic

There were few small talks about the guy but no general discussion. Please write your opinions about him, personal favorites out of his huge discography, and if someone has links to interviews with him on the web, that will be great.

Previous discussions about LTD

Mosaic Select box - http://www.organissimo.org/forum/index.php...topic=18331&hl=

Prestige Box - http://www.organissimo.org/forum/index.php...topic=11699&hl=

Steeplechase Box - http://www.organissimo.org/forum/index.php?showtopic=420&hl=

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I would highly recommend all of the SteepleChase titles with the exception of one, "More Than You Know", avoid that one like the plague. Listen the the sound samples on AMG and you'll see what I mean. "Go", "Getting Around", "Dexter Calling", and "Our Man In Paris" are my favorites from the Blue Note years. On Prestige, I like "Tower Of Power", "More Power", and "Generation" with Freddie Hubbard. LTD is my favorite TS player.............

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I have to confess to knowing very little Dex. Of that which I do know, I have a real soft spot for 'Our Man in Paris'. [iMHO, it also contains some beautiful Bud Powell.]

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Dex has been one of my favorite tenors since I've been into jazz. He's had many fine releases on Steeplechase & Columbia, though I'm unfamiliar with his Prestige stuff. But for me, his Blue Notes are the cream of the crop.....some of the finest recorded jazz I've ever heard. So wonderful that they've been all getting RVG-ed lately.

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Nothing on records with Dex compares to Dex live in "Jazzhus Montmartre", where I've heard him

at least 200 times, with either Kenny Drew or Tete Monteliu on piano, always NHOP on bass, and

either Alex Riel, Art Taylor or Tootie Heath on drums. Sometimes there also were jamsessions with visiting

guys on tour, I remember one especially with Dex, Don Byas and Paul Gonsalves, the room was on

"fire". Jazzhus Montmartre was not a big place, when the house was packed it could seat maybe

75 people. When Dex really was going, for maybe 15 choruses, he bend down in his knees

and moving his legs :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes: from side to side, complety absorbed into the music. He was also a very

witty announcer of the tunes and bandmembers. I got to know him well, and we became friends,

not close friends though. He was a guest at my first wedding in 1963, and we have been together

at many private parties, where he usually got pretty drunk or high on other substances than alcohol,

but always nice. I could tell many stories about Dex or "Ben Gordonsen from Valby" as he sometimes

announced himself as (Valby is a suburb in Copenhagen, where he had a little house).

Vic

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I too love Dexter Gordon. I cut myself off after I finished collecting his Blue Note releases because it was becoming an obsession and he has a lot of releases. I was at a friend's house last night for a Christmas toddy and he (who is not really a jazz guy) produced A Swinging Affair, which he had just picked up on a whim. I hadn't listenned to it in a long time, but found myself able to sing almost every solo from memory. That's a sign of some lyrical blowing.

A Swinging Affair and Go were recorded just 2 days apart, with the same band. Butch Warren is one of my favorite ensemble bassists and Sonny Clark is one of my 2 ideal hard bop pianists. No disrespect to Billy Higgins who is solid on drums as well.

Our Man in Paris is a special record too. His tone for some reason is very different on this record than the others. Maybe because it wasn't recorded in Englewood Cliffs by RVG or maybe he was playing differently. Solid session, though. Dexer Calling stands well on it's own right. I find One Flight Up and Doin Alright to be special amongst them because they are both quintet recordings. Tanya from One Flight Up reminds me a bit of Little Sunflower and is an adventurous near 20 minute excursion. NHOP on the bass brings a totally different color than Warren or Chambers did on the others. Definitely not a driving around in your car record, but more of a settle into a comfortable chair, unplug the phone and get lost in it record.

Wow, I think I talked myself into it.

I didn't buy the Ballads release on Blue Note because it is a compilation taken from the other records. I have a few of his releases from the 70's on vinyl. I've never met a Dex record I didn't love. Interesting to hear him recorded as a side man too, which you can find. He could really blow when it was called for, but he seemed to prefer to think about the tune, the phrasing and coax the feeling out of the horn that it called for. Time for me to go have a listen, I think.

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I would highly recommend all of the SteepleChase titles with the exception of one, "More Than You Know", avoid that one like the plague. Listen the the sound samples on AMG and you'll see what I mean.

Oh, I know what you mean, but "Naima" gorgeous. Maybe avoid like the common cold rather than the plague, depending on how adverse one is to string sections. There's also some guitar work on one of the tracks that makes me think of white suits. Not that that's necessarily a good thing. :lol:

The Black Lions or 1201 Music discs (however you can find them) are great too. As the former incarnation can be tricky to find I hope 1201 keeps reissuing titles.

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Dex took a long time to get under my skin. . . but he did. I'm not going to peel back any layers and dig him out.

I've got a ton of his work. . . I only have about half his Prestige titles. . . which puts me in a perilous position regarding his box set. . . . I've resisted getting the set for a while now.

Favorites of mine . . . well. . . I kindof like them all equally. .. I may have a favoritism going for "Takin' Off". . . .

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Hey, I LIKE that "More Than You Know" record.

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Some people are string-phobes.

Their loss.

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Well, what can you say? DG was a wonderful player, easily in my top five, perhaps my top two tenors. He will give me many, many hours of intense enjoyment in the years to come, even though he has passed....

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I do also. Don't avoid.

Hey, I LIKE that "More Than You Know" record.

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I would highly recommend all of the SteepleChase titles with the exception of one, "More Than You Know", avoid that one like the plague.

Why not just say it's with strings and let people judge for themselves? I like this record a lot - it's unique in the Dexter catalog, and the string writing is quite interesting.

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A post Blue Note Dexter session that I really love and recommend is A DAY IN COPENHAGEN (MPS). Recorded in '69, it's a sextet gathering that includes wonderful performances by Dizzy Reece and Slide Hampton, the latter also responsible for a very exciting up tempo arrangement of what is normally a standard jazz ballad, "You Don't Know What Love Is". Every track on this session is a winner.

B000056P98.01._SCMZZZZZZZ_.jpg

Unfortunately, it is no longer readily available on CD. I myself only have the LP. I'll pick up the CD too if I get the chance.

Edited by MartyJazz

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I would highly recommend all of the SteepleChase titles with the exception of one, "More Than You Know", avoid that one like the plague.

Why not just say it's with strings and let people judge for themselves? I like this record a lot - it's unique in the Dexter catalog, and the string writing is quite interesting.

I agree Jack, I love this one also; lots of feeling here from Dexter.

While I'm here I remember a nice set that I saw at the Vanguard (the Summer after his return, when all of the hoopla died down) with Benny Bailey on trumpet. In the audience that night I also remember, Rahsaan Roland Kirk (sitting alone) and the actor Peter Boyle ( sitting with a stunner ).

Somewhere I have photos taken with a 2000 speed recording film.

Bailey was great, by the way.

Fig-BennyBailey.jpg

Edited by marcello

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at the risk of appearing to be a troll - which I am not - I have to say I do not like Gordon's playing, even at its best - at that best he is a fine, average player with occasional fits of inventive energy. At its usual he is a good player clearly impaired to the point of playing well but so blocked by drugs that he plays right on the money and that's all. Just my opinion boys - feel free to ignore and move on -

Edited by AllenLowe

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Obviously the Blue Note Mosaic like box set is a must. Go is of course my favorite. The SteepleChase material is very nice, especially the Dexter in Radioland series, especially Love for Sale.

Besides the MPS A Day in Copenhagen, which is truly excellent, True Blue on Xanadu if really fine. A rare one is Dexter Goes to School.

One I wasn't particularly fond of was Dex and Ben Webster. Just didn't seem to mesh but it may be worthyof a re-listen.

Yes, it's hard to have too much Dex.

BTW, Dex's wife posted here once.

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at the risk of appearing to be a troll - which I am not - I have to say I do not like Gordon's playing, even at its best - at that best he is a fine, average player with occasional fits of inventive energy. At its usual he is a good player clearly impaired to the point of playing well but so blocked by drugs that he plays right on the money and that's all. Just my opinion boys - feel free to ignore and move on -

Will do. :crazy:

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Nothing on records with Dex compares to Dex live in "Jazzhus Montmartre",

Dex took a long time to get under my skin. . . but he did.

I agree with both Victor and Jazzbo. It took me a really long time to "get" Dexter. Now I can't really get enough. He has just such great command. Truly amazing. It was his live recording at the Jazzhaus that opened the door for me. Body and Soul, Take the "A" Train, "Both Sides of Midnight". I had picked up BSOM a long time ago and threw it on the player just for background one day. After a couple of listens I thought I should explore it a little closer. I just got hooked. I then had to hunt the others down and they are all great.IMHO. I am still working on my Dexter collection(have all of the Blue Notes and Columbia and some Steeplechase) but those Black Lions are a must IMHO. I would also say that The Black Lions sounded better to me than the 1201's. I thought the 1201's had used some noise reduction in the remastering.I have both the 1201 and the black lion of Body and Soul and to me the Black Lion is a slight improvement. I would get these in any format I could find, however. They are great.

Just my opinion. Take it for what it is worth

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I know people who aren't fans, I think it's fair. He has a unique voice, which I am glad when people do and it necessarily means that some people will connect with it and some won't. I don't normally connect with Sonny Rollins's playing. I have no critisism of him and there are some great recordings of him that I love, but as a whole, he just doesn't connect with whatever it is in us that connects us to music. With people like Joe Henderson, John Coltrane, Miles Davis and (what the hell) the Beatles it depends on the phase they were going through at the time for me.

Dex does with me, though. Man, I just love him. The thread inspired me to relisten to my Dex collection and I may post periodic updates as I work through it. For now:

Swinging Affiair/GO - great sessions. Great band, a beautiful snapshot in time right before his depature for Europe. Some good original compositions on these sessions.

Dexter Calling - I think his playing is much better on this record somehow, just up a notch, very warm and cooking when it should cook. Really beautiful and perfect and a great choice of material. I don't, however, like this rhythm section nearly as much. By popular convention, it should be the better rhythm section, but they don't ever feel locked in to me. All 3 of them; Philly Joe Jones, Paul Chambers and Kenny Drew seem to be making hits at just a little bit different instant than one another. Emphasis is coming in places where it's hard for me to believe it was intended. The lesser rhythm section of Sonny Clark, Butch Warren and Billy Higgins from the other sections is perfectly excellent to my ear. I am admittedly biased that way though. Dex's playing on this session is so good though that it carries the album.

Gettin' Around - In my opinion, not a great album material wise, but the opener Manha de Carnival makes it all worthwhile. I bakes my noodle every time I hear it. I don't think there will ever be a better version of this standard.

Our Man in Paris - Stands on it's own as a place and time snapshot. Excellent playing throughout. I mentioned in a previous post that his tone was or recorded different on this session for some reason. Much harder than on the other records. Could have been his reed, could have been the microphone, but it's great session with great European and ex-pat musicians.

I'm going to relisten to the 2 quintet recordings (Blue Note) next and then I'll spin up the 2 or 3 random LPs I have from the 70's.

To each his own. People who do connect with Dex seem to really connect with Dex.

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I had a few Dex CDs before but this year I seriously dug into the man's music- ebayed me the Blue Note box and stumbled a across a sw-weet cheap used copy of the Prestige box.

Man oh man this cat just has style! :cool:

Very melodic (usually) and things just flow with a little kick for good measure when he's hot.

The only thing I don't like is that he quotes too much.

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at the risk of appearing to be a troll - which I am not - I have to say I do not like Gordon's playing, even at its best - at that best he is a fine, average player with occasional fits of inventive energy. At its usual he is a good player clearly impaired to the point of playing well but so blocked by drugs that he plays right on the money and that's all. Just my opinion boys - feel free to ignore and move on -

...not that it really matters to me that you don't care for Dexter, why not just ignore and move on rather than drop a turd in the punchbowl????

m~

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just a question - does anybody else seem to notice, in his playing, the effect of drug use? I hear it everywhere - for better or for worse, of course, depending on your perspective -

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The effect of drug use.....I mean, how can you tell? How did he sound without drugs?

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