Dexter Gordon had such a colorful and eventful life (with three separate comebacks) that his story would make a great Hollywood movie. The top tenor saxophonist to emerge during the bop era and possessor of his own distinctive sound, Gordon sometimes was long-winded and quoted excessively from other songs, but he created a large body of superior work and could battle nearly anyone successfully at a jam session. His first important gig was with Lionel Hampton (1940-1943) although, due to Illinois Jacquet also being in the sax section, Gordon did not get any solos.
The harmonically advanced trumpeter Thad Jones is a perfect contrast to the tenor of Dexter Gordon on this enjoyable Prestige LP. Gordon was somewhat forgotten in the United States at the time (his "comeback" was still four years away), but is in excellent form on the four numbers, particularly during a passionate version of "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face."
Go is the tenth studio album by jazz musician Dexter Gordon, recorded on August 27, 1962 and released in the same year on Blue Note. According to the liner notes by Ira Gitler, this session was "not recorded in a nightclub performance but, in its informal symmetry, it matches the relaxed atmosphere that the best of those made in that manner engender. Everyone was really together, in all the most positive meanings of that word." It was recorded by Rudy Van Gelder at the Van Gelder Studio in Englewood Cliffs. Since its release, Go has received very positive reviews from critics, with Allmusic giving it a five star rating. The album was re-released in March 1999 as part of Blue Note's RVG Series, produced by Michael Cuscuna.
A play and an alto saxophonist pulled Dexter Gordon out of West Coast obscurity in 1960 and helped revive the bebop pioneer's career. The play was The Connection, which included a performing jazz band in its cast and inspired a classic original score from Freddie Redd as well as subsequent compositions by Kenny Drew, Cecil Payne, and Cecil Taylor. Gordon was the play's musical director in his hometown of Los Angeles, and some of Gordon's score is documented here. Cannonball Adderley produced the session (and many others for Riverside/Jazzland at the time).