Dexter Gordon (1923-1930) on Blue Note

Dexter Gordon (1923-1930) on Blue Note

Dexter Gordon (1923-1990)


 My top ten jazz tenor saxophonists are (in alphabetical order): Tina Brooks, John Coltrane, Dexter Gordon, Johnny Griffin, Coleman Hawkins, Hank Mobley, Wayne Shorter, Buddy Tate, Ben Webster and Lester Young. 


If asked to choose the music of only one of them, to take with me on a year-long retreat in the mountains of Kigyezi, Uganda, it would Dexter Gordon’s. Choosing a single record from his extensive discography would be very difficult, for I find his entire output consistently enjoyable. His records for the Prestige, Steeple Chase, Black Lion and Columbia Labels are among the finest in the Jazz canon. 


However, my go-to Dexter Gordons are 8 of his 10 recordings for Blue Note, the legendary label that is arguably the musical home of the largest and best group of Bebop and Hard Bop musicians. 


All of his Blue Note LPs that I am familiar with are indispensable, in my opinion.  Here is my subjective ranking eight of Gordon’s Blue Note LPs (with the recording year in parentheses and links to selections on YouTube ) :


  1. A Swingin’ Affair (1962) - Until the Real Thing Comes Along 
  2. Our Man in Paris (1963) - Scrapple from the Apple
  3. Go! (1962) - Love for Sale 
  4. Doin’ Alright (1961) - Doin' Alright
  5. Dexter Calling (1961) - Ernie's Tune
  6. Clubhouse (1965) - Hanky Panky
  7. Getting’ Around (1965) - Everybody's Somebody's Fool
  8. One Flight Up (1964) - Tanya  and Darn That Dream

Tanya is a masterpiece that keeps me company on Saturday afternoons. 


The two Gordon Blue Note LPs I have not listened to in full are:

  1. Squirrel: Live at Montmartre (1967). AllMusic awarded it 4 out of 5 stars.
  2. Landslide (1961, 1962). AllMusic awarded it 3 out of 5 stars.


Further reading:1.  The Dexter Gordon Society

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