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Our Man In Paris Extra tracks, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered

4.8 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Dexter Gordon had been a European resident for two years when he made this create session, one of the greatest of his career, which reunited him with Bud Powell and Kenny Clarke for the first time since the '40s.

DEXTER GORDON: Tenor Sax
BUD POWELL: Piano
PIERRE MICHELOT: Bass
KENNY CLARKE: Drums

* bonus track, not part of original LP.

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Recorded in 1963, this record finds tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon at the top of his game during his Blue Note days. Leading a high-profile quartet comprised of pianist Bud Powell, drummer Kenny Clarke, and bassist Pierre Michelot, Gordon leaps through the complex "Scrapple from the Apple" with youthful aplomb and then nestles deep inside the bluesy lyricism of "Willow Weep for Me." Gordon's strengths as a balladeer resonate beautifully on "Stairway to the Stars," while his bebop prowess flexes mightily on "A Night in Tunisia." The rhythms crackle, the solos fly; Our Man In Paris is essential Dexter. --John Murph
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 5, 2003)
  • Rmst ed. edition
  • Original Release Date: 1963
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Extra tracks, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Blue Note
  • ASIN: B0000AC8N4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,783 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael Brad Richman HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on August 7, 2003
Format: 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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Format: 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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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
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.
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Format: 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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Format: 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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