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Dexter Gordon: The Sqirrel

This 1967 recording fills a void caused by Blue Note not recording Dexter live when he was residing in Denmark and making the string of fine studio sessions we know and love. Gordon is joined by Kenny Drew, Bo Stief and Art Taylor, and his playing is more aggressive than anything I have ever heard from him (it was the ’70s before I caught him live). This alone makes The Squirrel easy to recommend, despite the fact that the drums are too loud, as often happens live. Of course Art Taylor too loud is immeasurably better than most drummers mixed perfectly, and Dexter and Drew both spin out such a dizzying tapestry of high octane improvisations the listener doesn’t have much time to worry about niceties like balance anyway.

Gordon made lots of records, and initiates should start with other Blue Note, Bethlehem or Jazzland dates, but for Dex-votees this is sure to please. His influence on virtually every modern tenor man was never more apparent.

Originally Published