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48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blue Note in Paris, August 7, 2003
This review is from: Our Man in Paris (Audio CD)
At first, Dexter Gordon's "Our Man in Paris" seems an unlikely choice for the RVG series, because Rudy Van Gelder didn't record it in the first place. Unlike most Blue Note albums which were recorded in Van Gelder's studios, first in Hackensack then Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, this one was recorded in Paris (5/23/63) by Claude Ermelin, as Dexter Gordon two years earlier had traded in his New York address for France. Maybe Mr. Van Gelder thought that through remastering, he could fix the minor sound deficiencies that had plagued an otherwise perfect album. Well, the new issue does sound fantastic! This date, featuring fellow expatriates Bud Powell and Kenny Clarke, along with Pierre Michelot, was originally supposed to feature Kenny Drew on piano, and a program of all new material penned by Gordon. Powell was called in at the last minute, but he wanted to only record standards on such short notice. In classic jazz fashion, a potential disaster turned into one of the most magical performances in the Blue Note catalog. Welcome back from Paris Dex, and Rudy thanks for adding your two francs.
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A be-bop reunion, August 22, 2003
By 
G. Schramke (Vienna, Austria) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Our Man in Paris (Audio CD)
This session is a meeting between three of the most influential musicians of the forties (Dexter, Bud Powell and Kenny Clarke as "Americans in Paris"), completed by the great french bassist Pierre Michelot. At this really happy date the musicians decided to play tunes, that go back to the time, when those guys first gigged and recorded together, like Parker's "Scrapple from the Apple". But especially about Dexter's playing it can be said, that he had modified his style during the sixties, absorbing ideas from musicians, who originally had been influenced by him (listen to some very Coltrane-ish licks on "Night in Tunisia"). Actually, Dexter once stated, that he was thrilled by that kind of mutual exchange of ideas: First he had been a main source of influence for the early John Coltrane and later, especially during the time of this recordings (1963), Dexter further developed his style using some of Coltrane's ideas. Besides the above mentioned faster tunes, I expecially like "Willow Weep for Me" with it's nice intro and that kind of blues-feeling and of course the beautiful ballad "Stairway to the Stars". Bud Powell, almost at the end of his career, still plays very inspired. Expecially during those years in Paris, Bud was at his best on encounters with other great Americans, who visited Europe or temporarly lived there.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Parisian Soul Music, June 2, 2006
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This review is from: Our Man in Paris (Audio CD)
I've given up trying to choose my favorite Dexter album, because it's always the one I happen to be playing. I thought I might be able to pass this one up--not close enough to the culmination of Dexter's resurgence, too late in Bud's career, too far from the Blue Note studios, too dependent on a French (or expatriate) rhythm section.

Strike all of the above. Dexter never played with "abandon," but this recording is probably as close as he comes to it. He's on fire for each of the tunes, complete and fresh phrases flowing from his horn in musical narratives containing more than the usual number of serendipitous quotes and allusions. At times it seems like no end is in sight, as the master storyteller is in Homeric, epic form. He handles the four-bar break on "Night in Tunisia" as impressively as Bird but with half the number of notes.

I wouldn't call the performances on this album superior to Dexter's "Love for Sale" (on "Go!"), "Tanya" or "King Neptune" (on "One Flight Up") or "Body and Soul" (on "The Panther"), but it's definitely in the same league and should be essential not just for fans of L.T. but for anyone who's serious about the art of improvisation.

Powell loses his place a couple of times (forgetting whether he's on the first, second or fourth chorus of a 32-bar song) but makes quick, virtually undetectable recoveries. Moreover, his fingering is precise, his melodic lines fluid and complex yet swinging. And the fact that the original recording was made by a French engineer insures that the piano, though somewhat distorted (see below), has a "realistic" or personal and natural quality distinguishing it from the usual Blue Note piano sound.

Count this one among Dexter's top 3-4 recordings, which is high praise indeed for a player as consistently brilliant as he. Dexter in Paris must be the next best thing to April in Paris. If there's a caveat, it's the quality of the audio. I was so hopeful that the "RVG Remastered Edition" would be an improvement over both the LP and preceding CD version, that I shelled out for the session for a third time. Disappointingly, Dexter's tenor still sounds compressed, compartmentalized, and even grating, and Bud's piano still carries that trace of distortion. In spite of these obstacles, the substance of this recording simply will not be denied.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Stellar Rhythm Section with Dexter at his best, August 23, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Our Man in Paris (Audio CD)
While Dexter Gordon originally planned to play a set of his own tunes for this gig, he changed to an all-standards line up to accomodate the rhythm section, which was unfamiliar with his tunes. The section featured Bud Powell (piano), Kenny Clarke (drums), and Pierre Michelot (bass). Between Gordon's simple yet complex improvisation that falls between Bop and Swing, Powell's melodic intensity, Clarke's clever accentuation, and Michelot's flawless harmonic support, this album both cooks and simmers with Stellar improvisation and interaction: Jazz at its Best.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Blue Note's best albums.Dex,Bud and Klook in Paris!!, September 28, 2003
By 
This review is from: Our Man in Paris (Audio CD)
Here is a very very essential album.One of Blue Note's most essential records.Paris,May 23,1963: Dexter Gordon,ts,Bud Powell,p,Kenny Clarke,dms and top french jazz bass player,Pierre Michelot,the only survivor of this outstanding quartet;or Dex meets the "Three Bosses",as the Bud/Klook/Michelot trio was called.Initially,Dexter should have recorded with Kenny Drew a set of tunes of his own;but it was decided to hire Bud,who was living in Paris the last years of his very short life,and logically,Michelot and Clarke followed.The bunch of new tunes written by Dex were forgotten,and everybody chose to play standards.Bud,among several troubles,could hardly learn new things at this time;but he was a giant when he was asked to play his repertoire,and the proof is here.Put together one of the most magnificent disciples of both Pres and Bird,the most awesome pianist with Hines and Tatum,and the father of modern jazz drumming,son of Jo Jones,add one of the best french musicians on bass,and you'll get some sublime music.Here may be Dexter Gordon's most magnificent album;his Lesterian roots meet some Golson and even Rollins' and Coltrane's influences ("Night in Tunisia");
his swing is purely incredible;Kenny Clarke's drumming is simply out of this world,so simple and yet so hardly swinging;maybe the most essential jazz drumming with Jo Jones' and Sam Woodyard's.And Pierre Michelot's bass support is really a very great one.
What about the tunes ? Here are essential versions of Bird's "scrapple from the apple",Dizzy's "Night in Tunisia",here is a sublime version of the incredible Ann Ronnell's evergreen,"willow weep for me",including superb solos by Bud and Pierre,here is the old "Broadway",in which Bud salutes Basie (the final notes),here are wonderful ballads,"stairway to the stars","our love is here to stay",and finally here is a trio track by the "Three Bosses","like someone in love",one of Bud's favorites.
Listening again to this album,it seems almost incredible to me to think that this music was recorded 40 years ago.It sounds more and more younger than most of today's jazz records.Here is not only Dexter's best effort,here is one of the most essential records of the history of jazz; a mixture of classical,Kansas City oriented music (Dexter's blowing will reminds you of Lester,Hershell Evans,Illinois Jacquet,Buddy Tate) and post-bop music (shades of Golson,Trane);Kenny Clarke,one of the monuments of jazz drumming with the Father,Jo Jones,and the disciples,Woodyard,Haynes,Blakey,Elvin J.,Butler,Lenny McBrowne,Roy Brooks,Ed Thigpen,Roach,etc,Kenny Clarke is at his most magnificent playing.Here is a gem in Blue Note's amazing catalog.Something you have to listen to !!!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cliche-free blowing, December 27, 2000
By 
Tyler Smith (Denver, CO United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Our Man in Paris (Audio CD)
Gordon is at his muscular, swinging best with this 1963 release. He takes on a set of well-known tunes, but infuses each with a fresh sound that leaves no doubt as to both his technical control and his ability to fashion eloquent improvisational statements.
"Our Man in Paris" also features Gordon playing with a superb supporting cast, including the mercurial Bud Powell on piano, the great Kenny Clarke on drums and the fine bassist Pierre Michelot. The four move seamlessly through such standards as "Willow Weep for Me," "Stairway to the Stars," and "Our Love Is Here to Stay." Gordon's blend of power and lyricism is best displayed on "Stairway to the Stars." On this lovely tune, you can hear Gordon warming to his theme, expanding on each idea, exploring the contours of the melody. In his ability to explore ballads, Dexter's playing rivaled that of Coltrane's.
The CD also includes a wonderful version of "Like Someone in Love," with Gordon laying out and Powell leading the remaining trio. Bud's opening statement of the theme is one of the loveliest solo intros I have heard on record. After Clarke and Michelot join him, he embarks on a stimulating romp through the tune's changes before exiting by recapitulating his solo statement. It's a great addition to the CD, and offers a completely satisfying end to the set.
I put Dexter on the short list of great modernists who transformed jazz during the '60s. "Our Man in Paris" reveals his original sound and his mastery of the standard repertoire of jazz. Recommended for anyone interested in adding to his collection or in exploring the foundations of modern jazz.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Our Man in Paris, September 25, 2004
By 
Tom B. (New Jersey) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Our Man in Paris (Audio CD)
Of all the albums Dexter did after the bebop era, this does the best job of giving the listener that same feeling that people got from listening to him back in the '40s. I'd say that this is primarily due to his choice of personnel on this particular date in Paris, which inlcudes the amazing Bud Powell on piano, an amazing French bassist named Pierre Michelot, and the one of the greatest jazz drummers from the bebop era, Kenny Clarke. The choice of tunes for this album also has to do with maintaining that feeling, since two of the tunes were Charlie Parker staples ("Scrapple from the Apple" and "A Night in Tunisia"), one was one of THE tunes to know in the '40s ("Broadway"),and two lovely ballads that were covered a lot during that time ("Willow Weep for Me", which has a very laid-back feeling to it that is the most unique Dexter ballad performance I've ever heard, and his lovely interpretation of "Stairway to the Stars", which has a very similar feeling to his ballad performances on "Go!"). Added to this superb album are two bonus tracks (Gershwin's classic, "Our Love is Here to Stay", and a wonderful trio reading of "Like Someone in Love", which shows off Powell's skills greatly.) Overall, if you are a fan of Charlie Parker, old Dexter from the '40's, or just a plain out jazz fan, "Our Man in Paris" is for you.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome, August 14, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Our Man in Paris (Audio CD)
If you're into bop, this issue is an absolute must. Very high spirited, very entertaining, very inspiring, you'll hang on every note. Clearly one of Mr. Gordon's best works
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite Dexter Gordon album, May 2, 2012
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What could be more perfect than the "Three Bosses" (Bud Powell, Kenny Clarke and Pierre Michelot) backing Dexter?

Gordon's chops have always amazed me, and they are evident on this album as is his versatility. He cuts through Bird's Scrapple from the Apple and Dizzy's Night in Tunisia as though he is playing an alto instead of tenor, then adds a wonderful touch to the rest of the standards on the album. I loved every track, but Willow Weep for Me and Our Love Is Here to Stay are my favorites.

While Bud Powell may have been in his decline when this was recorded in 1963, it is still a joy to hear him on these tracks. His powers may have greatly diminished, but he still managed to add to the album with his playing in my opinion - if for no other reason than his style and playing were unmistakable and there was something ineffable added to the music just by having him play. As an aside, Bud was a last minute replacement for Kenny Drew, and I've heard that the track selections were based on Bud's abilities to play them versus any new material that Dexter may have wanted. Michelot and Clarke are favorites of mine as well, and as a drummer I have a soft spot for Clarke since he is the father of bebop drumming. Few people take the time to carefully listen to and study his playing because he has a light touch and a deep understanding of the music itself. His playing here (and Michelot's bass) demonstrate why they were part of the "Three Bosses".

This is among my desert island albums - a handful that I treasure above all others. Every jazz aficionado should own a copy in my opinion, and those new to jazz will find that this is accessible and easy to enjoy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than 5 stars, May 14, 2011
This review is from: Our Man in Paris (Audio CD)
Probably the best Dexter album in the world. No saxophonist has ever been as swinging as Dexter. Pierre Michelot fine and boring. Kenny Clarke fine and oldfashioned. Bud Powell on a fine day. But DEXTER: His "Scrapple from the Apple" is better than Charlie Parker's - and that's not possible.
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Our Man in Paris
Our Man in Paris by Dexter Gordon (Audio CD - 2003)
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