Dexter Gordon: Doin' Allright and GO - JazzWax

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March 23, 2010


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Doug Zielke

I hope an extended interview with Maxine Gordon is in your plan. Dexter is one of my favorites, and I'm sure Ms. Gordon has lots of interesting comments to share with his fans.

I Witness

Long Tall Dex... got-dam but he was as much the tenor sax Colossus as Sonny! It's one of music's shameful tragedies that he's often practically an afterthought in the U.S. Jazz histories; addiction and jail time and his years in Europe just erased him from the American audience's paltry memory... until the craftily orchestrated come-back-to-America, and several years of touring, and his role in 'Round Midnight.

The two sinuous, sensuous sets I saw in those days are still major highlights of my experience of live Jazz. The big man was in command, and his slowed, back-of-the-beat solos weren't so much lazy as anchored in the earth. Mr. Gordon, I bow.

And, yes, Marc, more Dextrosity, please.

Denis Ouellet

You're right Marc, I still have the "Doin' Allright" album. It made an indelible impression on me. Thank you for giving us the background info. And thanks to Alfred Lion.
A masterpiece.


Mike Milner

"Go" is my favourite of the two records (I would also like to suggest "Our Man in Paris" in the honourable mention category!) I am a huge Sonny Clark fan, one of the most under rated and under appreciated jazz musicians of his era. The number of recordings he played on that turned out to be classics are staggering. Dexter was certainly one of the greatest tenor saxophonists in jazz, a genius on possibly the one instrument (besides piano and possibly trumpet) with more great players than any other. Although his Blue Note recordings are among his best, some his later sides for Columbia are not to be dismissed, imho. I am especially fond of the Complete Live at Carnegie Hall recording.
Great article Mark!

Doug Zielke

Enjoying the comments above. A bit more...
I visited the Dexter Gordon webpage/blog. There is a comment there saying Gordon's relationship with Steeplechase turned sour towards the end.

The author(?) does not elaborate. I have all of the Gordon/Steeplechase recordings, and place them above most of his work with stateside labels. The biographies I have on hand make no mention of a rift between Gordon and Nils Winther. I'd like to know more about this facet of Dexter Gordon's career.

Larry Kart

"A Swingin' Affair" was recorded two days after "Go," with the same rhythm section, and is at the same high level.

Not too long after (or maybe even before) "Doin' Allright" came out, Dexter, Ira Sullivan (on trumpet), pianist Jodie Christian, bassist Donald Garrett, and drummer Wilbur Campbell play a concert at our dorm at the U. of Chicago. That was special. Among those present was Dodo Marmorosa. This must have been about the time Marmorosa recorded the trio album "Dodo's Back" for the Argo label.

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  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of a Song" (Grove) and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax is a two-time winner of the Jazz Journalists Association's best blog award.

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