Friday, June 4, 2010

Dexter Gordon & My Readers Revive Me

In my last post I indulged in a little self-pity, and considered the possibility of ending this blog.  I got five prompt responses from my loyal friends and readers.  Oddly enough, my hits almost doubled over two days.  I am not sure how that works.  But then, this morning, unlooked for, a box set of Dexter Gordon recordings arrived on my doorstep.  Along with it was a Netflix envelope with a video of the second great Miles Davis Quintet.  I take this as a sign from the the Jazz gods.  Who am I to go against the gods?

I have admired Dexter Gordon for a long time.  One of my very favorite jazz numbers is his recording of 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas'.  My children have had to endure that for many a holiday.  In the late 80's, Gordon did some appearances on TV and film.  I liked Gordon's movie, Round Midnight, a lot more than most of the critics did.  Gordon also appeared in an episode of then my favorite tv show Crime Story.  I won't say he acted, because he mostly just mumbled.  But in the context, that worked.  

Gordon was the real thing, if you think that bop is the real thing.  He had both hands on the melody at all times, and he never stopped squeezing.  Here is a sample from today's gift:
Dexter Gordon/Body and Soul/The Complete Prestige Recordings
 I have only started listening, but this looks to be a great document.  Eleven CDs!  His marvelous LTD and XXL recordings in Baltimore are included.  Enjoy. 

ps.  Here is one at Will's suggestion.
Dexter Gordon/Home Run/The Complete Prestige Recordings


  1. Glad you're revived.

    Dexter Gordon was one of the first jazz musicians whose music I fell in love with outside of the normal Coltrane/Davis/Monk/Armstrong. The first time I heard Home Run I fell in love with it, it's still one of my favorite tracks.

  2. Thanks, Will. I have made a sample of that great song available.

  3. I hope other readers who listen to it for the first time enjoy it as much as me.
    I love the way the song evolves and at the end is almost totally different from the start, which the outro emphasises. It was this song that really opened my eyes to just how much bop has to offer. It was a musical epiphany really.

    Also, quite randomly, I found out today he's Lars Ulrich's Godfather.

  4. Will: I just listened to 'Days of Wine and Roses' on the Gordon box. There is an element of celebration, a bright whoopee sound, to his playing that might be unique. I'll have to think about that. But thank you for directing my attention to 'Home Run'.