Not essential but prime-time Dexter in concert.
Samuel Chell | Kenosha,, WI United States | 06/17/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I can attest that there was nothing like hearing Dexter live. Even in the context of three other boss tenors--Stitt, Ammons, Moody--he could steal the show. For all of the technical wizardry of the other players, or the big tones, Dexter was the most effective "storyteller," creating non-episodic solos that kept mounting in intensity, thanks in great part to his keen harmonic sense, allowing him to go for the note that was most revelatory, based on a chord substitution or upper extension of the chord that was in place.
Nevertheless, there are times when the studio sessions are preferable to the excitement of the live events, inviting repeated playings. During the same year as "At Montreux," Dexter recorded "The Panther" with Tommy Flanagan on piano. In addition to "The Christmas Song," that studio session offers, in my opinion, the best Gordon version of "Body and Soul" (I've listened to six others). Dexter had just come upon the chord substitutions and subtle moving harmonies and accompaniment patterns that would become his hallmarks on all subsequent versions of the tune. "At Montreux" is less subtle, and "The Homecoming" and "Manhattan Symphonie" increasingly less so, as the subtlety, the nuanced and the novel became more formulaic while the playing took on some gratuitous lightning and thunder.
Nevertheless, this is still extraordinary playing by arguably the most extraordinary improviser in jazz following Coltrane's death in 1967. And Mance, who was frequently employed in far more prosaic musical contexts, is for once called upon to support a bona fide giant. He delivers."