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.
Two exceptional live concerts from the 1960’s : Dexter Gordon in Copenhagen 1969 and Ben Webster in London 1964. Dexter is featured in a quartet format backed by the great Kenny Drew on piano, the late Danish bassist NHOP and the relatively obscure South African drummer Makaya Ntshoko (Ben Webster is present and can be seen among the audience, in the Cafe Montmatre!). Webster’s performance is also with a quartet - featuring the immaculate Stan Tracey on piano, bassist Rick Laird (who 7 years later was a founder member of The Mahavishnu Orchestra), and Jackie Dougan on drums. On “A Night in Tunisia”, Ronnie Scott joins the group - after all, Tracey, Laird & Dougan were his then current quartet and the house trio at his club, although this date was at The Marquee.
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.
Jazz Undulation is an exciting live album that captured tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin in an interesting and unusual setting. Bassist Jimmy Woode and drummer Kenny Clarke were frequent collaborators of Griffin's at the time, all three living in Europe and being members of the Clarke-Boland Big Band. Pianist Hampton Hawes was visiting Europe at the time, and probably just happened to meet them in Rome.