Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Dexter Gordon - Bouncin' With Dex (Steeplechase Records, 1976)

Between his move to Europe in the mid 1960’s during his stellar run with Blue Note Records and his triumphant return to America in the late 1970’s, legendary tenor saxophonist made scores of records for a number of labels. This is a studio album recorded in 1975 with Gordon in the company of Tete Montoliu on piano, Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen on bass and Billy Higgins on drums. “Billie’s Bounce” has a swinging uptempo performance with Dexter soloing at length and nice spots for piano and bass. Two versions of the ballad “Easy Living” feature Dexter patiently caressing the melody in a tender fashion with subtle accompaniment. “Benji’s Bounce” has a hard and strong swing that digs deep in the bass and drums department. There is a fleet section for piano, bass and drums and then Gordon and Higgins trade phrases to finish the tune. The vaguely exotic “Catalonian Nights” has an interesting rhythmic feel and Dexter just plows right through it, demonstrating how adept he is at adapting his playing to the circumstances, weaving through the backdrop like a boss. There is also some nice soloing for bass and drums. They all have a blast on the Miles Davis composition “Four” swaggering through the bebop classic as Dexter takes an excellent driving solo before once again trading solos with Higgins to close. Dexter Gordon recorded a large amount of music for the Steeplechase Records label during the 1960’s and 70’s. This might stand as one of the best, as he and the band are fully engaged in the music that they are creating and do it with confidence and bravado. Bouncin' With Dex - amazon.com

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