Dexter Gordon “A Swinging Affair” (1962)



Track Selection: Don’t Explain


Dexter Gordon (ts) Sonny Clark (p) Butch Warren (b) Billy Higgins (d) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, August 27, 1962

(Historical footnote: Not long after this recording, Dexter moved to Paris, and Sonny Clark was with us no more. One door in the evolution of jazz was closing, another door opening, enter adventurous free spirits looking for new directions.

“Don’t Explain” is what Dexter does best, a slow ballad requiring lights down low and nursing your favourite malt. Smokers among you might want to pull out a corona, whatever that is. It’s boudoir sax. Anyone listening in the office had better get on with their work and look busy before the boss finds out. And if you are the boss, what the heck, turn it up. And dim the lights.

D is for Dexter, and Discography

A few years ago, when I first started collecting records seriously, as opposed to just buying them from time to time, I couldn’t understand why the building block of an artists discography was recording sessions rather than records. After all, a discography = discs, no? Apparently not. Why did it matter what date it was recorded – surely just the year is enough?

Slowly the lights came on. Takes came from sessions, some of which  found their way onto records, sometimes a number of different records, issued at different times by different labels. The session date and occasionally the take number, was the unique identifier of the source recording.

But what has this got to do with Dexter’s Swinging Affair? Well, one of my favourite Dexters is “Go!”. Would I like A Swinging Affair as much, enough to pay a lot for it? Dexter’s discography tells all.

  • Blue Note 4112 “Go!” Gordon, Clark, Warren, Higgins August 27, 1962
  • Blue Note 4133  “A Swinging Affair” – same personnel August 29, 1962

Same time, place and personnel, effectively, they are the same record, just the tunes differ. Increase bid now.

Vinyl: Blue Note BLP 4133, NY EAR  VAN GELDER mono.

After a long run of records battling with scuffs and scratches, sticky labels that won’t unstick, water stains, missing ears, “reprocessed for Stereo”,  along comes a copy that is everything you want in a Blue Note. EX/EX , dimpled gloss laminate cover on thick card, even the correct inner sleeve 25 YEARS, a collector’s item if ever there was. For once it’s all good.

NY labels no DG, check!

The Plastylite “ear”, check!

VAN GELDER machine stamp, check

inner sleeve 25 years of, check!



43W61st address, no writing on cover, check!

Collectors Corner

Source: eBay                                                                                                          Sellers grading: Vinyl: “looks VG+ plays Ex”; cover: Ex

Hello, London calling, this is London calling. One of our Dexter’s is missing

or it was, the elusive A Swinging Affair a gap on the shelf for several years. Hardly ever saw it, compared with Our Man in Paris. Then all of a sudden, woosh, there it is, up on eBay from a UK seller, excellent condition, mono and ear.

I weary of US sellers who want more money for postage than the record costs – a thinly disguised form of discrimination against “Johnny Foreigner”. Then there is my government, with its hand out for 20% import duty, and our mail service wanting my money for collecting money on behalf of the government. This must be what it feels like being a pig in a litter, with every teat occupied. So I look first for European sellers, and US only for those I am unlikely to find any other way, no offence intended.

Fortunately a goody like this sometimes turns up locally, and all I have to do is beat the rest of the world to it. Which I did.Fully priced but within my house limit.

9 thoughts on “Dexter Gordon “A Swinging Affair” (1962)

  1. I have two mono copies of this record. Both are exact matches “ear, labels etc”. They both have the same sleeve only difference that I could tell is the weight of the records. One copy is about 155grams while the other is 180grams. Any info on that by chance?



  2. Just bought an Ex copy from ebay, its New York both sides, Stereo, but no ‘ear’. This isn’t listed anywhere on discogs or goldmine.

    • Liberty rushed out a lot of reissues using up original labels (and in some cases, covers) from stock, soon after transfer of ownership of Blue Note in 1966. Pressed by their acquired plant All-Disc, Roselle N.J. using Van Gelder masters, hence no ear. Fine pressings , for all intents and purposes, the sound of Blue Note. I have a Herbie Nichols with Lexington labels and no ear, from the same post-Blue Note era, and more than a few others.. I don’t think Goldmine recognises this level of detail as a “reissue”, or Discogs. You have a fine record.

  3. This entry got me hooked on your site big time. Having bought this very same record ( well, the bst84133 actually) in a thriftshop in holland for the price of a sandwich, I went online to find out more about it. Lo and behold, your site got the first hit. The shear joy and humour you put into the very informative entries is a treat to read and listen too. Keep up the adventure.
    With kind regards

  4. Indeed with the correct inner sleeve. The cover of “Little Johnny C” (4th album down in the first row) confirms it. A killer score .

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