Gettin' Around Dexter Gordon
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- 1Manha De Carnaval08:23
- 2Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me)05:14
- 4Shiny Stockins06:17
- 5Everybody's Somebody's Fool06:43
- 6Le Coiffeur07:00
Info for Gettin' Around
After two Blue Note LPs recorded in Europe (his adopted home since 1962), Gordon finally made it back to the States to record this mid-Sixties release. Curiously, the two previously unreleased tunes seem slightly out of place with the rest of the record, and feel more akin to the kind of work Gordon's labelmates were releasing at the time. 'Flick of a Trick' is a sultry, walking eight-bar blues, while 'Very Saxily Yours,' distinguishes itself from the standards here by virtue of its riffing melody and use of hits during the head.
Having said that, part of the appeal of Gordon's approach is the way this album is built from standards. There's a sense of getting down to basics, from the passion and depths that can come out in a ballad to the sheer joy of swinging hard on the uptempo tunes. 'Le Coiffeur' now sounds a little dated (like the theme from a lost Sixties sitcom), but there's something charming about that, as there is about the loping exuberance of 'Shiny Stockings' and the presence of 'Manha de Carnaval,' a recent movie theme at the time.
'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 in a mellotone, a session that plays well any time and any number of times.
This is not to say the great tenor allusionist isn't up to his usual tricks. On the first chorus of his solo on 'Manha de Carnaval,' he quotes three bars of Victor Young's 'Delilah'; during his own 'Le Coiffeur' (a cross between the samba 'So Nice' and Charlie Parker's 'My Little Suede Shoes'), he incorporates Debussy's 'Claire de Lune.' Finally, Gordon does for the sentimental chestnut 'Heartaches,' what Hank Mobley does for Irving Berlin's 'Remember' on Soul Station—refreshing it and transforming it into a hip tune. Only on 'Very Saxily Yours,' excluded from the original LP, does the tenor giant begin to show his customarily aggressive edge.
Bobby Hutcherson stays laid-back and in the pocket, just like Barry Harris—in fact, both musicians assume supportive roles that encourage Gordon to keep the flame burning low. Although this may not be a five-star performance like Go! or Our Man in Paris, don't be surprised if it receives more plays than some of Gordon's more essential recording dates.“ (Samuel Chell, AllAboutJazz)
Dexter Gordon, tenor saxophone
Bobby Hutcherson, vibraphone
Barry Harris, piano
Bob Cranshaw, bass
Billy Higgins, drums
Recorded from May 28-29, 1965 at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ
Engineer by Rudy Van Gelder
Produced by Alfred Lion
is considered to be the first musician to translate the language of Bebop to the tenor saxophone.
Dexter Keith Gordon was born on February 27, 1923 in Los Angeles, California. His father, Dr. Frank Gordon, was one of the first African American doctors in Los Angeles who arrived in 1918 after graduating from Howard Medical School in Washington, D.C. Among his patients were Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton. Dexter’s mother, Gwendolyn Baker, was the daughter of Captain Edward Baker, one of the five African American Medal of Honor recipients in the Spanish-American War. Dexter began his study of music with the clarinet at age 13, then switched to the alto saxophone at 15, and finally to the tenor saxophone at 17. He studied music with Lloyd Reese and at Jefferson High School with Sam Browne. In his last year of high school, he received a call from alto saxophonist Marshall Royal asking him to join the Lionel Hampton Band. He left Los Angeles with the band, traveling down south and learning to play from fellow band members Illinois Jacquet and Joe Newman. In January 1941, the band played at the Grand Terrace in Chicago for six months and the radio broadcasts made there were Dexter’s first recordings. It was in 1943, while in New York City with the Hampton band, that Dexter sat in at Minton’s Playhouse with Ben Webster and Lester Young. This was to be one of the most important moments in his long musical career as, as he put it, “people started to take notice.”
Back in Los Angeles in 1943, Dexter played mainly with Lee Young (Lester Young’s brother) and with Jesse Price plus a few weeks with the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra. In 1944, he worked with Louis Armstrong ‘s orchestra which was one of the highlights of his careers. Being in the company of the great trumpet master was inspiring and gave him insight into the world of music that he never forgot. It was during this period that Gordon made his first lengthy solo recordings as the leader of a quintet session with Nat “King” Cole as a sideman.
In 1944, Dexter joined the Billy Eckstine band, the source of many of the Bebop innovators of the time and many of the most prominent bandleaders in the future. He was surrounded nightly by Sarah Vaughan, Dizzy Gillespie, Fats Navarro, Sonny Stitt, Gene Ammons, Leo Parker, John Malachi, and other architects of the new music.
Dexter began to record for Savoy Records in 1945 with tunes such as Blow Mr. Dexter, Dexter’s Deck, Dexter’s Cuttin’ Out, Long Tall Dexter (none of which were named by the composer). These early recordings are examples of the development of his sound and his style which influenced many of the younger tenor players of that day, including Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane.
In 1947, Dexter recorded his historic sides for Dial Records, including “The Chase” with tenor saxophonist Wardell Gray. The two tenor “duels” became very popular at this time and Dexter commented that despite the differences in style, it was sometimes hard for him to tell where one left off and the other began. This recording was to become the biggest seller for Dial and further established Dexter as a leader and a recording artist.
In the late 40s, Dexter appeared on the famed 52nd Street in New York City with Charlie Parker, Fats Navarro, Miles Davis, Max Roach, and many of the bebop innovators of the day. The classic photo of Dexter at the Royal Roost in 1948 has become the iconic photo of the bebop musician and has been reprinted on album covers, t-shirts, posters, and print ads.
In 1960, Dexter was approached by Alfred Lion to sign with Blue Note Records. For five years, he made on session after another, and they are all considered classics. When asked which of all his recordings was his favorite, Dexter said: “I would have to say it is Go! The perfect rhythm section which made is possible for me to play whatever I wanted to play.”
The Blue Note recordings allowed him the opportunity to record with Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Hutcherson, Barry Harris, Kenny Drew, Horace Parlan, Bud Powell, and Billy Higgins. The Blue Note recordings are still available and are considered jazz classics.
A gig in 1962 at Ronnie Scott’s Club in London was a new experience for Dexter and he began to travel and work in Europe. Eventually, he settled in Copenhagen where he lived until his return to the U.S. in 1976. During that period in Europe, he traveled extensively, worked for long periods at the historic Jazzhus Montmartre and recorded for European labels as well as Prestige Records. In 1976, Dexter enjoyed a hero’s welcome in the U.S. when he made his return engagement at Storyville in New York City with Woody Shaw, Louis Hayes, Ronnie Mathews, and Stafford James. He subsequently played the Village Vanguard, signed with Columbia Records, and was officially back in town. He organized his first working band during this period with George Cables, Rufus Reid, and Eddie Gladden. He considered this band to be his best band and he toured extensively with them and recorded Live at the Keystone (Mosaic) and Manhattan Symphonie (CBS Sony) with the group.
In 1986, Dexter moved into his new career, acting, in the motion picture Round Midnight which was directed by Bertrand Tavernier. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Leading Actor in 1986 for his portrayal of Dale Turner, a character based on the lives of Lester Young and Bud Powell. The music for the film won an Oscar for musical director, Herbie Hancock. The film included fellow musicians Bobby Hutcherson, Billy Higgins, Cedar Walton, Freddie Hubbard, Tony Williams, Pierre Michelot, John McLaughlin, and Wayne Shorter.
Dexter Gordon’s last major concert appearance was with the New York Philharmonic in Ellingtones, a concerto written for him by acclaimed composer David Baker and conducted by James de Priest. (Source: www.dextergordon.com)
Dexter died on April 25, 1990 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
This album contains no booklet.