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Dexter Gordon: Loose Walk

June 24, 1965: Was there a better place in the world to be that night than the Montmartre Jazzhaus in Copenhagen, Denmark, listening to Dexter Gordon play? Probably not, although for a resident of Denmark, the next best place might have been at home, tuning in to a live broadcast of the concert on Danish Radio. Gordon was living in Copenhagen at the time, and the Montmartre was his home court. Loose Walk (Steeplechase) is one of a few surviving airshots recorded that summer featuring Gordon with the Montmartre’s house rhythm section-pianist Kenny Drew, bassist Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen and drummer Alex Riel. Gordon’s playing is loose and relaxed, bluesy and intense. Drew is superb; NHOP and Riel do their duty. Dex’s idiosyncratic spoken intros to tunes like “I Should Care” and “Come Rain or Come Shine” are charming, and the gritty soulfulness of his playing reminds us just how much we miss the greats of his generation. They don’t make ’em like this anymore.

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