Dexter Gordon

XXL: Live at the Left Bank

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Ready for a 24-minute rendition of Thelonious Monk's "Rhythm-a-ning"? You don't think so? Well, give it a shot -- you might be pleasantly surprised. Material from Dexter Gordon's May 1969 concert at the Famous Ballroom in Baltimore has already appeared on another live album (L.T.D., also on Prestige), but the three long tracks presented here are not cold leftovers. Opening with that 24-minute version of "Rhythm-a-ning," Gordon shows himself to be in peak form, improvising for a solid seven minutes without doing anything boring. Pianist Bobby Timmons is playing well too (though he's a bit hard to hear in the slightly unbalanced mix; bassist Victor Gaskin is, unfortunately, practically inaudible). And on this track, Percy Brice delivers one of what may be only two or three truly interesting drum solos in the history of jazz. The second tune is a version of "Misty" that comes across as surprisingly robust and rhythmically driven, despite its slow tempo and balladic melody; here, again, Gordon shines on an unusually long performance. The program culminates with a 22-minute rendition of "Love for Sale," which is given a gently propulsive and faintly Latin-tinged arrangement. Whether this can be considered an essential Dexter Gordon document is open to debate, but for those with a particular interest in the artist, it can be recommended without reservation.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 24:12 Amazon
2 10:14 Amazon
3 21:58 Amazon
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