Dexter Calling Dexter Gordon

Album info

Album-Release:
1961

HRA-Release:
02.02.2015

Label: Blue Note

Genre: Jazz

Subgenre: Hard Bop

Album including Album cover

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  • 1Soul Sister07:42
  • 2Modal Mood05:21
  • 3I Want More05:18
  • 4The End Of A Love Affair06:51
  • 5Clear The Dex04:52
  • 6Ernie's Tune04:14
  • 7Smile03:22
  • Total Runtime37:40

Info for Dexter Calling

This superb 1961 date matches Dexter Gordon's booming tenor sax with a dynamite rhythm section of Kenny Drew on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Philly Joe Jones on drums. Like all his early '60s Blue Note recordings, this is Gordon at his absolute best.

It's a nice mix of originals and standards, including an up-tempo take on Charlie Chaplin's 'Smile.' There are no surprises here, just straight-ahead bluesy bebop by some of the masters of the genre.

„Dexter Gordon's second recording for the Blue Note label is a solidly swinging affair, yet constantly full of surprises. It's not unexpected that Gordon's tenor at this time -- 1961 -- is one of the most enjoyable in mainstream jazz, but his transition from the cool California scene to the hotter music environs of New York City had energized his sound and attitude.

A first-time pairing with bassist Paul Chambers has something to do with this, but it also inspires pianist Kenny Drew to a great extent, while drummer Philly Joe Jones is his reliable, energetic self, and always works well with Gordon. This SACD edition features a broad range of jazz that Gordon mastered with wisdom and a bit of mad abandon on his solos. Where Gordon's fluent melodic sense is perfectly demonstrated during the simple-as-pie groove waltz 'Soul Sister,' the steady, steamy bopper 'I Want More,' and the familiar Charlie Chaplin evergreen 'Smile,' his sense of expanding the specific line upon soloing is truly remarkable. He constantly keeps the song form in mind, riffing on and on without violating the basic note structures, constantly reharmonizing, shuffling the chords like a card dealer and updating the song form. 'The End of a Love Affair' takes this concept into an area where his deep, subtle voice is translated directly into the low-slung voicings of his horn.

The remarkable 'Modal Mood' combines hard bop with Drew's three-chord piano repetitions and Gordon's soulful, simplified sax, while the equally impressive 'Clear the Dex' steamrolls the competition as the band -- cued by Jones -- skillfully pushes or pull tension and release elements, then busts loose into joyous swinging in a true signature tune that is immediately recognizable as only the long, tall tenor man. The sad ballad 'Ernie's Tune' is based on a yin/yang theme via Freddie Redd's stage play The Connection and the crazy character that ran wild or tame.

There's a previously unissued track, 'Landslide,' which sounds slightly like a knock-off of one of his other tunes -- perhaps 'Cheesecake' -- but considering the time frame, it could be a prelude to one of his most famous songs of all time. The excellent band, solid musicianship, and memorable music on every track make this one of the more essential recordings of Gordon's career, enhanced by the improved audio quality.“ (Michael G. Nastos, AMG)

Dexter Gordon, tenor saxophone
Kenny Drew, piano
Paul Chambers, bass
Philly Joe Jones, drums

Recorded on May 9, 1961 at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ
Engineer by Rudy Van Gelder
Produced by Alfred Lion

Digitally remastered


Dexter Gordon
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.

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