Dexter Gordon

The Best of Dexter Gordon: The Blue Note Years

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Blue Note's handy roundup series moves on to chronicle the '60s label stint of a bebop veteran. Returning to the States from Europe to cut several dates, Dexter Gordon managed to produce some of his best stuff for Alfred Lion's venerable jazz company. This fine disc features many of the highlights, including both breezy swingers and dusky ballads. Ranging from an incredible bop long-player with trumpeter Donald Byrd ("Tanya") to one of his patented after-hours smoothies ("Don't Explain"), Gordon reveals his large store of talent with solos that are both intricate and beguiling, and that's his mode for a set that also takes in bossa nova ("Soy Califa") and some fetching originals ("Cheese Cake"). Gordon novices should start here.

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