Nights at the Keystone dates from a couple of years after Dexter Gordon had returned triumphantly to America (1978-79). He took strong solos on several lengthy performances. One can fault the occasional excess of song quotes (especially "Laura," which seemed to pop up in every solo) but Gordon's authoritative sound, freshness of ideas and confident explorations easily compensated. Pianist George Cables was often in dazzling form (check out "Tangerine") and was continually inventive. Bassist Rufus Reid and drummer Eddie Gladden were perfect in support. In addition, the ambience of the late, lamented Keystone Korner, San Francisco's top jazz club and possessor of one of the most knowledgeable jazz audiences anywhere, can be felt.
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