Friday, October 22, 2010

Dexter Gordon - At Montreux With Junior Mance

Dexter Gordon's set at the 1970 Montreux Jazz Festival is typically exciting with long tenor solos, fine backup (from pianist Junior Mance, bassist Martin Rivera and drummer Oliver Jackson) and a well-rounded repertoire: Gordon's "Fried Bananas," "Sophisticated Lady," Thelonious Monk's "Rhythm-A-Ning," an explorative "Body and Soul," "Blue Monk" and "The Panther." This excellent CD serves as a fine all-around introduction to the music of the great tenor-saxophonist. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

I can attest that there was nothing like hearing Dexter live. Even in the context of three other boss tenors--Stitt, Ammons, Moody--he could steal the show. For all of the technical wizardry of the other players, or the big tones, Dexter was the most effective "storyteller," creating non-episodic solos that kept mounting in intensity, thanks in great part to his keen harmonic sense, allowing him to go for the note that was most revelatory, based on a chord substitution or upper extension of the chord that was in place. Nevertheless, there are times when the studio sessions are preferable to the excitement of the live events, inviting repeated playings. During the same year as "At Montreux," Dexter recorded "The Panther" with Tommy Flanagan on piano. In addition to "The Christmas Song," that studio session offers, in my opinion, the best Gordon version of "Body and Soul" (I've listened to six others). Dexter had just come upon the chord substitutions and subtle moving harmonies and accompaniment patterns that would become his hallmarks on all subsequent versions of the tune. "At Montreux" is less subtle, and "The Homecoming" and "Manhattan Symphonie" increasingly less so, as the subtlety, the nuanced and the novel became more formulaic while the playing took on some gratuitous lightning and thunder. Nevertheless, this is still extraordinary playing by arguably the most extraordinary improviser in jazz following Coltrane's death in 1967. And Mance, who was frequently employed in far more prosaic musical contexts, is for once called upon to support a bona fide giant. He delivers. - by Samuel Chell,

Artist: Dexter Gordon
Album: At Montreux With Junior Mance
Year: 1970 (Prestige)
Label: OJC (1987)
Runtime: 55:32

1.  Fried Bananas (Dexter Gordon) 8:13
2.  Sophisticated Lady (Duke Ellington/Irving Mills/Mitchell Parish) 7:56
3.  Rhythm-A-Ning (Thelonious Monk) 8:44
4.  Body and Soul (Frank Eyton/Johnny Green/Edward Heyman/Robert Sour) 10:16
5.  Blue Monk (Thelonious Monk) 10:54
6.  The Panther (Dexter Gordon) 9:27

Dexter Gordon (Tenor Saxophone)
Junior Mance (Piano)
Martin Rivera (Double Bass)
Oliver Jackson (Drums)


  1. Thank you ITR. I'll have to visit more often. Great, great blog.

  2. The RS has a password... What is that?




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