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Unrivalled in mystique
on July 6, 2009
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 compatriot Teddy Edwards through the underrated Booker Ervin (with a whole list in-between: Trane, Rollins, Land, Mobley, Golson, and so on). But none of these guys could beat Gordon in the mystique department. Gordon was tall, handsome, honeytongued and not a little odd, and his whole persona just screams "legendary". If that's your fix, this DVD gives it to you in spades - from the very opening frames, in which we see Dex in a trenchcoat and porkpie hat walking down a dark lane and ducking into a swinging Amersterdam jazz club, before picking up his axe and diving into his set. He's backed by a European pick-up band, three white boys who really know how to play. On the uptempo numbers, you can hear Gordon's link to Trane and on the slower tunes his link to Rollins, but he doesn't dig in nearly as deep as either of these guys. Watch this DVD for its full length, and you realise Gordon has emptied his bag of tricks pretty quick. But he sure was handsome.