Jazz Icons: Dexter Gordon Live in '63 & '64
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Jazz Icons represents the new millennium's most welcome shot in the arm for the music's soul -- Newsday.com, October 14, 2007, Gene Seymour
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The band on "Second Balcony Jump" and "You've Changed" consists of Dexter, Kenny Drew(p), Gilbert "Bibi" Rovere(b), and Art Taylor(d). The rest of the program has George Gruntz(p), Guy Pedersen(b), and Daniel Humair(d) backing Dexter on "A Night in Tunisia", "What's New", Clifford Brown's "Blues Walk", "Lady Bird", and "Body and Soul". The ballads are masterful and gorgeous (of course). I think "You've Changed" is even better here than on his "Doin' Alright" album.
You can find some of these performances on youtube if you want an idea of what you'll get, just keep in mind the picture and sound quality are much better on the DVD (quite good in fact). Also, the liner notes by Dexter's widow are excellent- informative and very entertaining.
If you're a fan of Dexter's Blue Note albums you won't be disappointed. If you're unfamiliar with this tenor giant, this is a good place to start.
The opening scene on the DVD reminded me of Dexter's character, Dale Turner, in 'Round Midnight walking along a narrow Paris street to the Blue Note. Instead, it is the man himself walking into a small club in Amersfoort, Holland for a performance that was broadcast on TV. You can tell this scene was staged because Dexter was wearing a trench coat and the performance took place on 29 July 1964 (not exactly the time of year one wears outerwear).
His trio was playing when he walked in and took to the bandstand, and he joined them with a smoking rendition of Night In Tunisia. Although that song was Dizzy Gillespie's bebop anthem and made his own by Art Blakey and his Jazz Messengers, Dexter's rendition is one of my favorites.
He finished his set off with equally impressive performances of What's New and Blues Walk (the latter a Sonny Stitt composition). What sets Dexter apart from other tenor players is he had his own style - and it was more like an alto sax than a tenor. But what I truly loved about this segment was the backing ensemble consisting of George Gruntz on piano, Guy Pedersen on bass and Daniel Humair on drums. They were tight and it was obvious that either this was rehearsed or they had played with Dexter before. Some research revealed that Humair was Dexter's preferred drummer, and as a drummer I can understand why. Humair anticipated Dexter's every note, as well as the other members of the trio. Indeed, Gruntz and Pedersen also played beautifully.
For non drummers, please skip over this (and forgive me.Read more ›
Dexter had come up right during the be-bop years...unlike the sax players before him who had one leg into swing era and one into the new be-bop...Dexter was all be-bop...and later hard-bop...
In my opinion there are very few sax players that can squize the juice out of a BALLAD and dexter was one of them...in this DVD..he does You've Changed and What's New...nobody can play the ballad quite like Dexter...on other upbeat tunes..he has a way of ..climbing the mood with layer after layer which you can see and hear it on this DVD...with great picture and amazing sound....lots of sax players' styles have been copied ..but you can't copy Dexter...you know it's him from 10-miles away..very definit staring note and ending note....he was the ultimate COOL DUDE....if someone says I like to hear or see a good vintage jazz DVD...this is it...buy it...!!
Watch this DVD..see how COOL this guy was....I have most of his CD's..and could not wait to get this DVD to see him in person..during the hight of his career. You get it all in this DVD...
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent video. As a jazz buff, I have enjoyed watching one of the greatest jazz musicians,Published 13 months ago by Madcustomer
Gordon never played better than he did in the early Sixties. This DVD captures him at three different venues in 1963 and 1964 with the robust support of two different rhythm... Read morePublished on October 10, 2011 by Scott Albin
Dexter Gordon. You either love him or ... well, you don't. You've got to admit that there are any number of his contemporaries who exceeded his talents on the tenor, from erstwhile... Read morePublished on July 6, 2009 by Matthew Watters