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Jason Bodlovich: Blues for Dexter

Man, I’ll tell you what, if some guy called me and said, “Hey, I’m doing a Dexter Gordon tribute album and I want you to be the tenor player,” I would at the very least gulp real hard before saying yes. The very hard-swinging young drummer Jason Bodlovich apparently put Steve Wolfe and Jay Thomas in that position when preparing his project, Blues for Dexter (Moonrise), and I feel for both of them, because it’s an almost no-win situation. I say almost, because both men do a pretty darn good job on a set of tunes dedicated to, written by, or otherwise associated with Gordon. Although his sound is big and dark, Wolfe plays almost nothing like Dex. Nor does Thomas (who also burns on flugelhorn and trumpet); his sound and manner of phrasing is considerably lighter. No matter, since both inject their solos with sufficient energy, intelligence, and-especially in Thomas’ case-individuality to make a go of such old hard-bop chestnuts as “Catalonian Nights” and “Blues Up and Down.”

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