Dexter Gordon's indispensable Jazz record "GO!" turns 59

Dexter Gordons indispensable Jazz record GO! turns 59

Exactly 59 years ago today, tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon entered Rudy van Gelder’s studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, USA for his third recording session for Blue Note Records that produced what is generally considered his very finest record ever. 

From the tape that Gordon, together with Sonny Clark (piano), Edward “Butch” Warren (bass) and Billy Higgins (Drum), made on Monday August 27, 1962, Blue Note Records produced a long-playing record titled GO! (BST 84112). Released in December 1962, GO! was received with critical acclaim and it has continued to occupy a place of honour in Gordon’s extensive discography. 

GO! is considered by many connoisseurs of jazz music to be Gordon’s very best recording. In 2018, the National Library of Congress added GO! to the National Recording Registrya list of sound recordings that "are culturally, historically, or aesthetically important, and/or inform or reflect life in the United States."

This record is outstanding in every way. Featuring Gordon’s majestic tenor sax playing, with top notch accompaniment by some of the finest musicians on their respective instruments, GO! offers a mix of swinging hard bop and sensuous balladry that is in excellent introduction to Dexter Gordon. This is essential music in any jazz collection. 

The vinyl record collector is spoiled for choices. Whereas copies of the original 1962 release cost as much as $ 900 (mono) and $500 (stereo), excellent and affordable re-issues are very readily available. Discogs website lists 41 vinyl LP versions. On July 23, 2021, Blue Note Records released an excellent copy in its Classic Vinyl Reissue Series. 

In my own collection, I rank my copies by sound quality and overall musical presentation as follows:

  1. Music Matters Jazz - 33 1/3 RPM released May 26, 2014. 
  2. Blue Note Classic Vinyl Series – 33 1/3 RPM released July 23, 2021
  3. Analogue Productions – 45 RPM released in 2008
  4. Capitol Records - 33 1/3 released in 1997

All four are very well pressed on 180 gm vinyl and have quiet backgrounds. The Blue Note Classic Series comes very close to the Music Matters in sound quality, yet costs a fraction of the former’s price. Discogs reports the following price ranges* on the re-sale market:


Music Matters Jazz - $150-$300

Blue Note Classic Vinyl Series – $32-$36

Analogue Productions – $70-$160

Capitol Records - $30-$52


*All prices are in Canadian dollars.




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