Thursday, April 26, 2018

Dexter Gordon - Gettin' Around (Blue Note, 1965/2005)

Gettin' Around was recorded at Van Gelder Studios in New Jersey during 1965, part of the extraordinary run of albums tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon made for Blue Note Records in the mid nineteen sixties. Remastered by Rudy Van Gelder forty years later, this excellent sounding disc also features Bobby Hutcherson on vibes, Barry Harris on piano, Bob Cranshaw on bass and Billy Higgins on drums. It is a wide ranging program that includes bossa-nova jazz fusion, ballads and uptempo swingers beginning with "Manha de Carnaval" which has a subtly exotic beat from Higgins, that moves the song ahead at a stately and unhurried pace. Vibes and piano weave through the music with an insistent bass groove that sets the stage for Gordon to produce a languid and thoughtful saxophone solo, caressing the melody and the subsequent improvisation. Gordon was always an excellent ballad player and this is evidenced by his patience in constructing his solo statement on "Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me)." His playing is measured and cool, but retaining the heartbreaking emotion of the song while being shaded by piano and vibes. "Heartaches" allows the band to stretch out, with Gordon building his saxophone solo from a whisper to a full throated strong toned performance over the course of the improvisation, while short and swinging solos for vibes and piano add further rhythm to the motion supplied by Cranshaw and Higgins, creating an impressive performance. An easy going groove is developed for "Shiny Stockings" creating a taut medium tempo performance, with the rhythm section laying down a soulful and direct foundation for Harris and Hutcherson to offer pithy statements and Gordon to respond with a tight solo and then a return to the melody for the conclusion. "Everybody's Somebody's Fool" is another melodic ballad selection, with Gordon supplying a wistful and romantic solo statement, playing the heartbroken character for all it is worth. The lyricism of his playing is at the forefront here, he never says more then is necessary, but conveys the maximum of emotion with the minimum of notes. A rare Gordon original, the bouncy "Le Coiffeur" has a light and nimble feeling that allows the band to take flight in a gently uptempo formation, playing together nicely and drifting through the proceedings without touching the ground. The CD has two extra tracks from the same sessions, the Gordon feature "Very Saxily Yours" and the lengthy slow burning "Flick of a Trick." Overall, this was a very solid hard bop album; and while it may not reach the heights of Go or Our Man in Paris, the pillars of Gordon's Blue Note tenure, it is well worth hearing. Gettin' Around - amazon.com

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