Sunday, September 19, 2010

Dexter Gordon - Blue Dex

This single-CD anthology is chock-full of the mighty Dexter Gordon (tenor sax) as leader or as primary participant in seven selections showcasing his surprisingly wide array of interpretive skills within the blues. While the majority of the contents have been culled from Gordon's late-'60s and early-'70s Prestige output, the update of Jay McShann's "The Jumpin' Blues," as well as Gordon's own "Sticky Wicket," are both alternate takes that weren't available prior to the all-inclusive 11-disc Complete Prestige Recordings (2004) box set. The latter opens the compilation as the double-sax assault of Gordon and James Moody (tenor sax) is supported by Barry Harris (piano), Buster Williams (bass), and Albert "Tootie" Heath (drums). The midtempo and minor chord changes have a menacing effect as the two tenors bounce ideas off one another. "The Panther" swings with a sinuous syncopated flow thanks to Larry Ridley (bass) and especially Alan
Dawson (drums). Tommy Flanagan (piano) is also along for the ride and lays down a few classy lines of his own, which are punctuated by a brief solo from Williams. Gordon joins forces with Junior Mace (piano) at the 1970 Montreux Jazz Festival for a live cover of Thelonious Monk's "Blue Monk." Martin Rivera (bass) and Oliver Jackson (drums) are a solid, yet transparent rhythm section well-suited to frame Gordon's soulful and expressive sonic tug of war with Mance's refined ivories. The hot and driving "Lonesome Lover Blues" finds Gordon, Gene Ammons (tenor sax), Jodie Christian (piano), Rufus Reid (bass), and Wilbur Campbell (drums) blowing away the blues of guest vocalist Vi Redd -- daughter of drummer Alton Redd -- who was not only an alto saxophonist in her own right, but as evidenced by the contributions heard here, she was a dynamic soul shouter as well. The previously alluded to "alternate" of "The Jumpin' Blues" is from an upscale confab featuring Wynton Kelly (piano), Sam Jones (bass), and Roy Brooks. "Oh! Karen O" is definitely a keeper. Thad Jones (trumpet/flugelhorn) goes head to head with Gordon as Stanley Clarke (bass), Hank Jones (piano), and Louis Hayes (drums) give them plenty of space for their winding and expressive ventures. Clarke's interchanges are interesting as they weave and entwine harmonically with Gordon. Jimmy Heath's "Gingerbread Boy" returns listeners to the stage of the Montreux Jazz Festival. It is three years later and the personnel of Hampton Hawes (keyboards), Bob Cranshaw (bass), and Kenny Clarke (drums) provide a cool, laid-back groove as Gordon's sax underscores his keen and sensitive abilities as a wordless narrator who can create sonic portraits with the hues and shades of his empathetic tenor. For that reason alone Blue Dex: Dexter Gordon Plays the Blues is a worthy investment. - by Lindsay Planer, AMG

Artist: Dexter Gordon
Album: Blue Dex: Dexter Gordon Plays the Blues (Compilation)
Year: 1969-1973
Label: Prestige (Digitally Remastered, 1996)
Runtime: 71:05

1.  Sticky Wicket (Dexter Gordon) 9:41
2.  The Panther (Dexter Gordon) 6:24
3.  Blue Monk (Thelonious Monk) 10:56
4.  Lonesome Lover Blues (Billy Eckstine) 13:22
5.  The Jumpin' Blues (Jay McShann/Charlie Parker) 5:43
6.  Oh! Karen O (Dexter Gordon) 12:07
7.  Gingerbread Boy (Jimmy Heath) 12:48

Dexter Gordon (Tenor Saxophone)
James Moody (Tenor Saxophone) - 1
Barry Harris (Piano) - 1
Buster Williams (Double Bass) - 1
Albert "Tootie" Heath (Drums) - 1
Tommy Flanagan (Piano) - 2
Larry Ridley (Double Bass) - 2
Alan Dawson (Drums) - 2
Junior Mance (Piano) - 3
Martin Rivera (Double Bass) - 3
Oliver Jackson (Drums) - 3
Gene Ammons (Tenor Saxophone) - 4
Jodie Christian (Piano) - 4
Rufus Reid (Double Bass) - 4
Wilbur Campbell (Drums) - 4
Alton Redd (Vocals) - 4
Wynton Kelly (Piano) - 5
Sam Jones (Double Bass) - 5
Roy Brooks (Drums) - 5
Thad Jones (Trumpet, Flugelhorn) - 6
Hank Jones (Piano) - 6
Stanley Clarke (Double Bass) - 6
Louis Hayes (Drums) - 6
Hampton Hawes (Electric Piano) - 7
Bob Cranshaw (Fender Bass) - 7
Kenny Clarke (Drums) - 7


  1. That's great to find you again itr, missed your nice and tasty blog.
    Thank you itr

  2. LegalizeIt... said ... Thanks for your blog ! Great Issues ! But on this DG-PlayTheBlues I need pass/rar code ... I know this Lp I lost many years ago... it was one of my first jazz records... thanks again.

  3. See the "About me" section (pw: into)!



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