FNJ has a guest DJ tonite: BondDaddy is in the house!
Dexter Gordon is one of the greatest tenor sax players. He had a strong tone and incredible sense of melody. Some players like Sonny Rollins and Joe Henderson had a slippery sense of time; their phrases speed up and slow down, moving within the rythm section’s accompaniment. Not Dexter. Dex’s time was rock solid, never wavering. The rythm section had to accompany his time.
His playing is incredibly melodic, easily followed by the listener. Ideas naturally morphed from one to the other, always following a logical pattern. However, he was also able to surprise listeners with a run into upper chordal extensions.
His playing provides a logical link between Parker and Coltrane. Dex used many ideas from Parker, but played them with a tone that was deep, bold and soulful. His tone provides the link to Coltrane, who also favored a deep and rich tenor tone.
Gordon swung — and swung hard. If your feet are not tapping within 8 bars of his starting to play, you’re just not listening.
Homecoming: Live at the Village Vanguard. Dex lived in Amsterdam for about 10 years, and this was the album be made when he came back. Very cool set. Woody Shaw is on Trumpet, and the two work really well together. THis is Dexter at the very top of his game (and probably one of the top 25 live jazz albums of all time).
He also starred in the Round Midnight, probably the best jazz movie ever made
Our Man in Paris: This be-bop session is a meeting between three of the most influential musicians of the forties. The rhythms crackle, the solos fly; Our Man In Paris is essential Dexter. A nice compilation of standards.
Go: Its been widely reported Gordon himself considered this his greatest achievement. Brimming with conviction and poise, Gordon’s gentle-giant sax carries itself with a sort of graceful edge that is difficult to emulate. Never has anyone made the diminished scale sound so musical.
Ballads: This is a compilation of his ballads (duh), and he could play just beautifully on these. Gordon delivers his almost sleepy and smoke-filled solos with real grace. Some of the most romantic playing you will every hear.
Incidentally, there are tons of videos of Dexter posted; Here are a few:
I Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out To Dry
More Than You Know
Thanks to Hale "Bond Dad" Stewart for tonite’s FNJ