Dexter Gordon: A Real Gent, With A Swinging Sax
17th November 2016
Label: Jazz Images
This is another LP that celebrates and presents the imagery of hard working French photographer Jean Pierre Leloir, born in Paris in 1931, who created an archive of jazz musicians at work, “I loved the people I photographed, so I made myself as available, yet as discreet as possible,” he said. “I never wanted to be a paparazzi. I wanted them to forget my presence so I could catch those little unexpected moments.”
That’s not really the case for the cover of this album which is one of Leloir’s most staged photographs and has Gordon posed as quite the gentleman. But then, he was. As Rolling Stones drummer, Charlie Watts commented, “The lovely thing about jazz guys in that period…was that they were very handsome men…they were very stylish. A big iconic guy, Dexter Gordon, made a record called Our Man in Paris, and he had one of these pins through his collar, which I now have hundreds of. The lovely thing about all of them, though, was that their clothes were worn. They weren’t just put on, to the office and back. They sat all night in the things. They played in those suits. How they played in those suits I don’t know.”
This album is arranged and played exactly how Gordon dressed – at least how he is dressed on this LP. It is full of confidence and it is bright and forthright while the whole attire and ensemble seems to fall just right to create a perfect presentation. In terms of his LPs, it just might be his best ever. Featuring pianist Sonny Clark, the drummer Billy Higgins and bassist Butch Warren, they support the sax work of Gordon superbly. Track such as Cheese Cake, Second Balcony Jump and Where Are You? all burst with energy and animation.
In mastering terms, there is a measure of compression which you can hear immediately the cymbals are hit at the beginning of Cheese Cake which is, I guess, a limitation of the original source material. Nevertheless, this source has been nicely cleaned up and polished to provided a measure of clarity and balance within the soundstage.