Dexter Gordon

Strings and Things

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Veteran tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon's SteepleChase recordings of the early to mid-1970s are among the finest of his career, with the exception of this CD. Joined by a large (and mostly unidentified) orchestra arranged by either Esko Linnavalli or Palle Mikkelborg, Gordon is often surrounded by intrusive ensembles filled with dated effects and some electronics. The first three selections are rather unfortunate, particularly Dexter's poor vocal on Antonio Carlos Jobim's "This Happy Madness." Much better is an inventive reworking of "More Than You Know" and a spirited rendition of Thad Jones' "A Good Time Was Had By All," which lets some of the Scandinavian sidemen (including trumpeter Allan Botschinsky and bassist Niels Pedersen) have some solo space before Dexter takes over with some effective soprano. However, this project overall is surprisingly erratic and weak, done in by the forgettable arrangements.

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