Dexter Gordon: Sophisticated Giant

Unlike most of his albums, where long, tall Dexter fronts a combo, on this 1977 studio date he’s accompanied by a ten-man band on a set of standards and originals arranged by Slide Hampton. Gordon’s rich tone meshes beautifully with the ensemble on tunes like “Laura” and Woody Shaw’s “The Moontrane” with the composer on hand to fire off one of his temperature-raising solos. With tuba (Howard Johnson), flute (Frank Wess) and vibes (Bobby Hutcherson) in the mix, the tonal palette gets some very fresh infusions. Of course a date with Dexter wouldn’t be complete without one of his wide-ranging, all-out, quote-filled romps and his “Fried Bananas” fits the bill perfectly. Two 1979 tracks featuring Eddie Jefferson (from the album Great Encounters) round out this remarkable disc.