The Resurgence of DEXTER GORDON
Dexter Gordon (t) Martin Banks (tp) Richard Boone (tb) Charles “Dolo” Coker (p) Charles Green (b) Lawrence Marable (drs) Recorded in Los Angeles; October 13, 1960
Home Run (5:06) (Dexter Gordon)
Dolo (6:14) (Charles Coker)
Lovely Lisa (7:16) (Charles Coker)
Affair in Havana (7:38) (Charles Coker)
Jodi (6:41) (Dexter Gordon)
Field Day (6:41) (Charles Coker)
About This NEW Jazzland Recording –
This album marks a notable occasion – the welcome and long-overdue return of DEXTER GORDON to the recording studio after several years’ absence.
The obvious question that comes to mind, of course, is: how and why was it possible for one of the major figures of the Bop Era of the 1940s, a deeply-felt influence on virtually every tenor man who has followed him, to move into the background? And the answer, as it so often is in such cases, is primarily that Dexter never really left the scene. Instead, it would be much more accurate to say that the scene left him. For, in the early ‘50s, when Gordon returned from New York to his hometown of Los Angeles, that cool, ‘intellectual’ style known as “West Coast Jazz” had come into vogue. This music was, to say the least, quite a contrast to the robust, swinging approach of an East Coast-oriented musician like Dexter. Consequently, during the dominance of the cool over West Coast jazz in general and recording in particular, the services of even so large a talent as Dexter’s (as well as those of promising swingers like Harold Land and Teddy Edwards) were not in much demand, except for a slim scattering of local gigs.
But more recently the tide has begun to turn. The general upsurge of harder, blues-flavored, soulful jazz, which has reached nationwide proportions, seems to have much to do with it. In any event, 1960 saw Dexter’s music featured on-stage in the Los Angeles version of the play, “The Connection,” and it was also the year in which Jazzland, during a California recording trip, was able to set down these examples of the current high level of his playing.
“Resurgence” is defined as meaning “a rising again,” which is why this album is so titled. This is not the return of a dormant talent, but rather a rising up, back to richly deserved attention, of an artist who clearly has lost none of the strength, agility and full-powered tone that made him a pace-setter.
The full story of Dexter Gordon begins on February 27, 1923, when he was born in L.A. His father, a doctor whose patients included Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton, encouraged him to take up music theory and harmony at an early age. He studied clarinet, alto, and finally settled on tenor in 1940. He was with Lionel Hampton’s band for three years, worked with such varied leaders as Louis Armstrong and Billy Eckstine, and then spent most of the late ‘40s in New York, where he worked with Charlie Parker, recorded with (among many others) Dizzy Gillespie, and led his own group at 52nd Street’s Three Deuces.
Tow of the six compositions here are Dexter’s: the hard-charging blues titled Home Run; and Jodi; a tune named for his wife on which Gordon (who plays this track with just the rhythm section) conclusively demonstrates his master of the ballad tempo. The other four numbers are the work of the young Washington, D.C., pianist, “Dolo” Coker who along with the high-regarded California drummer, Lawrence Marable, highlights the supporting cast here.
Recent JAZZLAND releases include:
Tough Tenors – Johnny Griffin and Eddie Davis Quintet – JLP 31 & Stereo 931S
The Soulful Piano of Junior Mance – JLP 30 & Stereo 930S
Guitar Groove – Rene Thomas, with J. R. Monterose – JLP 27 & Stereo 927S
Takin’ Care of Business – Charlie Rouse, with Blue Mitchell – JLP 19 & Stereo 919S
Produced by JULIAN ADDERLEY
Notes written by CHRIS ALBERTSON
Cover designed by KEN DEARDOFF
Back-liner photos by WILLIAM CLAXTON
Recording Engineer: WALLY HEIDER (United Recording Studios)
Mastered by JACK MATTHEWS (Component Corp.) on a HYDROFEED lathe
JAZZLAND RECORDS are produced by BILL GRAUER PRODUCTIONS, Inc.
235 West 46th Street, New York 36, New York