Parisian Soul Music
Samuel Chell | Kenosha,, WI United States | 06/02/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've given up trying to choose my favorite Dexter album, because it's always the one I happen to be playing. I thought I might be able to pass this one up--not close enough to the culmination of Dexter's resurgence, too late in Bud's career, too far from the Blue Note studios, too dependent on a French (or expatriate) rhythm section.
Strike all of the above. Dexter never played with "abandon," but this recording is probably as close as he comes to it. He's on fire for each of the tunes, complete and fresh phrases flowing from his horn in musical narratives containing more than the usual number of serendipitous quotes and allusions. At times it seems like no end is in sight, as the master storyteller is in Homeric, epic form. He handles the four-bar break on "Night in Tunisia" as impressively as Bird but with half the number of notes.
I wouldn't call the performances on this album superior to Dexter's "Love for Sale" (on "Go!"), "Tanya" or "King Neptune" (on "One Flight Up") or "Body and Soul" (on "The Panther"), but it's definitely in the same league and should be essential not just for fans of L.T. but for anyone who's serious about the art of improvisation.
Powell loses his place a couple of times (forgetting whether he's on the first, second or fourth chorus of a 32-bar song) but makes quick, virtually undetectable recoveries. Moreover, his fingering is precise, his melodic lines fluid and complex yet swinging. And the fact that the original recording was made by a French engineer insures that the piano, though somewhat distorted (see below), has a "realistic" or personal and natural quality distinguishing it from the usual Blue Note piano sound.
Count this one among Dexter's top 3-4 recordings, which is high praise indeed for a player as consistently brilliant as he. Dexter in Paris must be the next best thing to April in Paris. If there's a caveat, it's the quality of the audio. I was so hopeful that the "RVG Remastered Edition" would be an improvement over both the LP and preceding CD version, that I shelled out for the session for a third time. Disappointingly, Dexter's tenor still sounds compressed, compartmentalized, and even grating, and Bud's piano still carries that trace of distortion. In spite of these obstacles, the substance of this recording simply will not be denied."
S J Buck | Kent, UK | 07/02/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This 1963 album finds Dexter Gordon in sparkling form. He is backed by Bud Powell on Piano, Pierre Michelot bass and Kenny Clarke drums. Its one of the best sessions Gordon ever recorded and is an essential purchase for any Jazz fan.
Dexter Gordon is in fine form throughout the album. Just take the opening Charlie Parker classic 'Scrapple from the Apple'. The theme is stated and Gordon takes the first solo. Three and a half minutes later he finishes. Theres no apparent repetition here, or use of a stock of standard riffs that you might hear with a lesser musician. Throughout this solo he is inventive using the full range of the Saxophones marvellous palette. The other stand-out track on here for me is his version of 'A Night in Tunisia'. Whether he's throwing in a quote from 'Summertime' or bending notes on this form Gordon was up there with the very best. On a few moments in his solo on Tunisia I was reminded of Coltranes Soprano solos. Whilst there is no doubt that in his early career Gordon was an undoubted influence on Coltrane I wonder if at this stage Gordon was actually being influenced by Coltrane.
Its worth mentioning the appearance of Bud Powell on the album. He was the most important Jazz pianist before Bill Evans arrived in the late 1950's. Sadly he suffered from mental health problems and his playing later in his career (from the late 1950's onwards) could be erratic. On this recording he isn't the whirlwind of 10 years earlier, but his playing is mostly consistent and considered of sufficient standard for 'Like Someone In Love' to be put out as a bonus track on the CD.
What's to be said, we're talking about Dexter Gordon here...
Robert M | 05/15/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm enjoying this CD. Unfortunately I can't elaborate in terms of the composition and harmonic balance, etc because I'm not that sophisticated a listener, but I feel he's a fantastic musician and this CD captures the spirit of his genius well."