Dexter Gordon

Round Midnight [Steeplechase]

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This set was recorded in 1974, 11 years before Bertrand Tavernier's film Round Midnight -- with Dexter Gordon in the leading role -- opened internationally. SteepleChase refrained from releasing it until 1987, however, which is actually quite strange considering the iron was hot at the time, but such is the mysterious life of independents. As Gordon sessions go, he was still able to burn it down at this point. He may have slowed a bit, but his sense of phrasing, harmonic invention, and rhythmic interplay with the others on this date is quite remarkable. With Benny Bailey on trumpet, Jual Curtis on drums, pianist Lars Sjösten, and Torbjorn Hultcrantz on bass, Gordon moves through four extended improvisations on standards like the title track and "Stella by Starlight," Dizzy Gillespie's "Blue 'n' Boogie," and Johnny Burke's "What's New," with a single original by Bailey titled "Neptunus" closing the set. It's also the longest cut here at over 20 minutes. Yep. The entire set is a jam, and on it, Bailey shines brightest for his raucous, biting tone and his deep sense of swing.

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