Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dexter Gordon - Our Man in Paris

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. - by G. Schramke, Amazon.com

This 1963 date is titled for Dexter Gordon's living in self-imposed Parisian exile and recording there with two other exptriates and a French native. Along with Gordon, pianist Bud Powell and Kenny "Klook" Clarke were living in the City of Lights and were joined by the brilliant French bassman Pierre Michelot. This is a freewheeling bop date with the band working out on such categoric standards as "Scrapple from the Apple," and "A Night in Tunisia." In addition, American vernacular tunes such as "Willow Weep for Me" and "Stairway to the Stars" are included. Gordon is at the very top of his game here. His playing is crisp, tight, and full of playful fury. Powell, who at this stage of his life was almost continually plagued by personal problems, never sounded better than he does in this session. His playing is a tad more laid-back here, but is nonetheless full of the brilliant harmonic asides and incendiary single-note runs he is legendary for. The rhythm section is close-knit and stop-on-a-dime accurate. - by Thom Yurek, AMG

Artist: Dexter Gordon
Album: Our Man in Paris
Year: 1963
Label: Blue Note (1987)
Runtime: 50:15

Tracks:
1.  Scrapple from the Apple (Charlie Parker) 7:23
2.  Willow Weep for Me (Ann Ronell) 8:50
3.  Broadway (Billy Bird/Teddy McRae/Sir Henry Joseph Wood) 6:46
4.  Stairway to the Stars (Matty Malneck/Mitchell Parish/Frank Signorelli) 6:58
5.  A Night in Tunisia (Dizzy Gillespie/Frank Paparelli) 8:17
6.  Our Love Is Here to Stay (George Gershwin/Ira Gershwin) 5:41
7.  Like Someone in Love (Johnny Burke/James Van Heusen) 6:17

Personnel:
Dexter Gordon (Tenor Saxophone)
Bud Powell (Piano)
Pierre Michelot (Double Bass)
Kenny Clarke (Drums)

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