"1965 was the year in which Coltrane was making his move away from his classic quartet into even more adventurous directions. It was the year Malcolm X was murdered. The Vietnam war was entering high gear. Recorded in 1965, the music of Dexter Gordon in this album continued to stay close to its essentials - great sound, hard swing, and good, harmony based - bebop inspired improvisations. Judged according to post-bop standards, this is almost a perfect recording. The rhythm section (Harris, Cranshaw and Higgins) create a unique sound, which for me is the most enjoyable sound in post-bop rhythm sections. Barry Harris' solos are perhaps the high point of this album - so tasteful and original. The playing of Freddy Hubbard has always been exceptional, as it is here. And Dexter Gordon proves again that he is one of the giants of tenor saxophone, and a standard by which future saxophone players will always be judged. His tone is both dark and bright, his sense of time so good. All the tunes are great, but I must refer to one small moment. In the ballad "I am a fool to want you", when Dexter returns after Hubbard's lyrical solo, he stops on one note, and then repeats it with a certain growl, which for me holds so much wisdom and human understanding, that I truly consider it one of the higher moments of recorded jazz. Of course I recommend that you listen and decide yourself..."
Back in the "Clubhouse"
Michael B. Richman | Portland, Maine USA | 04/05/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Until this recent RVG reissue, Dexter Gordon's "Clubhouse" had a checkered past. Recorded on May 27, 1965 during a visit stateside (and a day prior to Gettin' Around -- see my review), it was never released on vinyl until 1979, unearthed only after Dex's triumphant "Homecoming." Then it was released as a single CD in 1990, only to quickly land in the cut-out bins during the height of Capitol's Garth Brooks hysteria. It also appeared on Gordon's Complete Blue Note collection, which by now has been long out of print as well. Now "Clubhouse" finally finds a permanent place in the catalog, with new cover art to boot. This session features Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, and the remarkable rhythm trio of Barry Harris on piano, Bob Cranshaw on bass and Billy Higgins on drums. That rhythm trio was the backbone of one of Blue Note's most famous recordings, Lee Morgan's The Sidewinder, and their chemistry here is as great as ever. The disc's highlights are the title track, a classic reading of "I'm A Fool to Want You," and the lovely original "Jodi." While not his finest moment on Blue Note, it's nonetheless great to have Dex back in the "Clubhouse.""
D E X
Jazzcat | Genoa, Italy Italy | 08/10/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This album in my opinion is terrific. Even if the booklet from Blue Note says it's not good as the best Dex BN albums... Are they crazy? This album is stellar! My ears are telling me this! I can't understand how it had such an hard judgement initially, and a difficult story behind it, an "in an out" of the catalog story. If you consider that Clubhouse has been recorded in '65, in the middle of the Dexter's golden period, the years that produced his exceptional Blue Note records, well, you can imagine what a fantastic music may be in Clubhouse. One thing. It's not a live date, but a studio date. The title initially let me think about a concert, but it's not. Anyway, the first time I listen to it, it instantly blew me away! It is simply a perfect date. Everything is perfect and Dexter is in top form. The rhythmn section is nothing less than superb (Harris, Cranshaw and Higgins), the other soloist, Hubbard shines, the repertoire is very balanced and everything flows just right, with the right amount of funky and tenderness. In my opinion one of the best from dex, for real. I know it may sound like an overstatement, cause we're talking about Dex, one of the main jazz players ever that recorded exceptional records, but this one stands out believe me. It's absolutly lovely. Few words about the soft moments you'll find here. To me few players ever played a ballad like Dex used to do (especially among the modernists). And in "I'm a fool to want you" and in "Jodi" you can understand why I'm convinced of that. I mean, impressive musically and incredibly touching emotionally. But this album does not have standouts or weak moments. I agrre with the guys at AMG which called this "excellent music if not quite essential". It's huge. From the beginning to the end. Long, tall and proud."
Dexter 's Swinging Club
Jack Baker | LeRoy,IL | 03/28/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Dexter Gordon's Clubhouse was recorded at a session in 1965, sat on Blue Note's shelves for 14 years, finally seeing the light of day in 1979. This is somewhat of a mystery to me, despite the liner notes stating that Alfred Lion was disappointed with the session. The music contained within is as soild as any Blue Note session I've heard. To be true, it doesn't rival Dexter's One Flight Up, and isn't quite on the same level as Go! or A Swingin' Affair. Still, this is a fantastic album and the personnel involved are impeccable. Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, Barry Harris on piano, Bob Cranshaw on bass, and Billy Higgins on drums join Long Tall Dexter's tenor sax. This session was recorded the day before the one that yielded Gettin' Around using the same group, the only difference being Bobby Hutcherson on vibes replacing Hub's trumpet.
The album features 3 Gordon originals, the aptly titled "Hanky Panky", the smooth "Clubhouse", and the lively closing number, "Jodi". The group also plays Ben Tucker's sly "Devilette" with Tucker replacing Cranshaw on bass for this one number. "I'm a Fool to Want You" finds Dex channeling his inner Sinatra, his sax full and round on this ballad. Rudy Stevenson's "Lady Iris B." is another tenderly rendered ballad. The liner notes imply that this session was somehow lacking in energy and that Hubbard in particular was not as adventurous as in other efforts. The first argument doesn't hold water for me and the second point might be true, but one could argue Freddie's restrained playing best serves the material presented here. The song selection doesn't demand exploratory playing so much as a sense of melody and timing. Barry Harris really lays down some beautiful piano work, helping set the mood. Cranshaw and Higgins are as good a team as Higgins and Butch Warren on Go! and A Swingin' Affair. And the leader, Dexter Gordon, sounds as magnificent as ever to my ears. This might not be a session that'll set your hair on fire, but more of a quiet, contemplative set with a few spirited numbers. I love it and give it four and a half well-deserved stars, rounded up to five for Amazon's purposes. "
Wayne Dawson | New Zealand | 07/10/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The tenor sax and trumpet of Dexter Gordon and Freddie Hubbard worked magical wonders whenever they came together and Clubhouse is right up the top of both their recording careers. Dexter's big wounded tone that typically lags behind the beat contrasts well with Hubbard's impetuous, raw nerve outbursts. Add to that clarity of thought where chord progressions are concerned and a good rhythm section and you've got some vintage Dexter. All the more surprising to find Alfred Lion and Dex down grading the results of these sessions. Personally, I find it one of Dexter's most satisfying efforts but anything recorded for Blue Note during his sixties stay is well above average.
By 1965 when this set was done, Hubbard was into his own, flashing through phrases that sound just as hip now as then. While the painful experiences of Dexter's career adds a bottomless depth of blues soaked maturity and gravitas that only the greatest can achieve (I'm A Fool To Want You).
The other two albums they recorded together were: Dexter's, Doin' Alright and Herbie Hancock's, Takin' Off. All three are simply brilliant!
Now let's hope Gordon's Landslide recordings with trumpeter Tommy Turrentine will appear soon through the Van Gelder series. "