Dexter Gordon - "Dexter Calling" (Blue Note, 1961)
Some people guessed it. I had never found a Blue Note of this status in the wild before Saturday. I walked into the Philly Record Exchange and there it was on the wall, marked as "EX 1st!" I already assume I'll need to just have a look for fun and then pass due to the price, but I had just gotten done whining to a fellow collector that Dexter was a huge hole in my collection and knowledge. Turns out the price was actually pretty fair. The owner offered to play the whole thing for me, which I took him up on, and it played like a dream. I couldn't leave it there. And here it is. I was so excited when I brought this home that I bumped it up to the front of my new arrivals bin. I had just finished the Dexter Gordon section in a hard bop compendium I am currently reading, so I suppose the stars were aligned. On this date, Dex is joined by the deadly rhythm team of Kenny Drew, Paul Chambers, and Philly Joe Jones. Chambers especially turns in masterful performances in both pizzicato and arco form. For his part, Gordon's tone is not terribly distinct from Coltrane's, but the main distinguishing factor in their styles is Dexter's fairly un-angular, or almost anti-angular playing. He prefers to drift up and down, providing a cool and laid-back feel. But I won't waste your time. This is a highly celebrated date, and rightly so. Many more eloquent writers have written much more insightful things than I. Plus, it was nice to enjoy some hip swinging after all of my trips to outer musical space lately. By the way, there is a ton of great stuff still on the wall at the Philly Record Exchange. I couldn't buy it all! And the owner is super cordial, too.
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