Dexter Gordon Doin’ Allright (1961) Blue Note

Track Selection: Society Red (Dexter Gordon) –  long, 12 minutes, but Great!

Selection Society Red is big stretching-out blues march, rock steady in 4:4 time, with Hubbard and Gordon very much on the same page. Over 12 minutes it never drags,  in stereo that really seems to have found its feet. Nice bass solo at the end from George Tucker, and the ambience is confident blues-flavoured bop.

Artists

Freddie Hubbard (tp) Dexter Gordon (ts) Horace Parlan (p) George Tucker (b) Al Harewood (d) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, May 6, 1961

Music

Dexter aged 37, a jazz  veteran in peak form, prior to his move to Europe. Plenty of Dexter’s trademark big-toned ballads with linear muscular melodic lead lines and the occasional flourish. The pairing with Hubbard however bring more grit and sparkle to the ensemble and Parlan likewise adds colouring to what could have been a somewhat formulaic session. Dexter had a series of Blue Note releases around this time, including the exceptional “Go”, “Dexter Calling”  “Gettin around” and “Our Man in Paris”, not a dud among them.

Vinyl: Blue Note original BNST 84077, early stereo Van Gelder.

Original Blue Note on NY labels no DG both sides, sound is very fresh and rich as it should be for first or early pressing. Being an intended stereo at the recording stage, the master places an RVG STEREO machine stamp in the run out. This is good, no?

Blue Note Stereo

Updating the ever-popular Blue Note labels page recently, I had cause to revisit one of my very few early Blue Note stereo records, Dexter Gordon’s Doin’ Allright from 1961. At the time I had reservations about “Stereo” as something “second best”, not to be spoken about openly among collectors who prize mono as the definitive original version.  But it has taken on a new interest following recent research on Contemporary Records and the early Stereo Records label of engineering wizard Roy DuNann, so I have given it a second chance.

There are no doubt earlier Blue Note stereo releases, Cohen’s Guide owners will know,  but this is one of my earliest. Stereo was new enough at Blue Note not to have stereo covers printed yet, but the gold Blue Note Stereo sticker mounted on a beautiful laminated mono jacket.

Some tracks exhibit stereo presentation decisions I wouldn’t have made. Gordon far left on his own, Hubbard far right oddly shared with the drums; piano and bass tightly in the centre. On Dexter’s big-toned ballads the balance feels a little awkward, just three positions: far left, far right and centre, a banana-republic election rather than a spectrum. On the more busy Society Red, the soundstage comes together more convincingly, especially when Dexter and Freddie duet. Great.

I have heard it argued that Stereo is largely an artefact of studio engineering. If you were to see the group in live performance the sound would be coming at you from one source, the bandstand, effectively “Mono”. Interesting argument.

The Matrix

BN-ST 84077 with ear.

RVG STEREO engraving

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Collectors Corner

Source Ebay Location: North of England

Sellers Description: VG+

Auction end of last year, from a nice collection. These things tend to run in packs. A fastidious collector builds up a collection over many years, to consistent high standard of desirable records in excellent condition. They walk under a bus. The collection is bought by a competent professional seller, who drips them back onto the market three or four at a time, each week. Pretty soon word gets around, a handful of XXL bidders move in, money no object, and all the records disappear – overseas. Fair and generous bids are pushed aside.

I was lucky to take just two. Am I bitter? Well, I know I shouldn’t be, but…

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16 thoughts on “Dexter Gordon Doin’ Allright (1961) Blue Note

  1. I have a BNS 40014 Blue note copy, with the vinyl in great condition.
    Anybdy let me know the market value please?
    Thanks
    Steve

  2. I have always thought this one of the finest BN covers. Such a beautifully framed photograph, and the difference in contrast between the background and the foreground is immensely skilful and makes the picture sing. Is it in front of the UN building? Oh, this is a jazz *music* blog, not a jazz photography blog? Then I shall play it at the w/e and see if it’s as good as the cover.

    • Music? Photography? Post-modern Cultural Deconstruction?.. the whole guacamole.
      I’m thinking to introducing a Blue Note knitwear supplement. Wool is the new vinyl. Knit your own copy of Kind of Blue.

  3. Superb album, superb line-up and a superb track list. One that I’d like to have on vinyl as well. And in the comments we see that the mono vs. stereo subject has another element in it: preference! Tony, for instance. He prefers the monos from one era and the stereos from the other, while others prefer mono no matter what. Since all the Blue Notes that I have on CD are in stereo (except for those that were never released in stereo and thus are mono on CD as well), I try to focus on mono Blue Note vinyls whenever I try a snipe and hopefully win, but I’ve done the same for stereo Blue Notes as well. Let me just say that I, too, like ’em both.

    One thing is for sure: if you’re used to hearing your favourite Blue Notes in stereo, then I can tell you it’s quite a difference to finally hear the tracks in mono from vinyl, especially since it doesn’t matter where in the living room you position yourself. With a stereo, the fun thing about having one on while you’re busy doing something in the house, pacing up and down the living room, is that here your closer to that instrument and there you’re closer to the other one. It’s just a continuous change in perspective compared to when you lay down on the couch in the centre of both speakers and not move. It’s entertaining to read how diverse everyone’s thoughts are about mono vs. stereo, too. 😉

  4. “RVG STEREO machine stamp in the run out”
    This is good. However, according to Mr. C. the first press was Side 1 NYC, Side 2 W63i.
    Mr. C also goes on to say that the only first pressings to carry the Stereo Sticker on the cover were 4003, 4008, 4011 and 4014, and therefore anything after 4014 with the Stereo Sticker on the cover are therefore not first pressings. But as we all know, original BN re-pressings are every bit as good as the first, so congrats on a top score that I wish I had!

    • I should add that I refer to original 4000 series Stereo pressings. Mr. C mentions a few others in 1500 series issues as well …

      I would also add that, in my book after 50 years any copy that looks as good and sounds as good as yours is top drawer no matter what its place in the pressing line….

    • Thank you for that gentle landing, Tony, but the ego has crashed.

      Damn that Cohen, it is a counsel of perfection, which is why I don’t have it.

      You can’t play to it, because you are limited to what actually turns up in the market. One is lucky to snatch a second or third pressing original at a half sensible price. I just had another weekend of realistic bids losing every time to big-money collectors. Spit.

      Another day to remind yourself one is a music lover not a trophy hunter.

      • Exactly. And after picking up a NY23 Blue Note recently I would say the earlier is not always the better sonically speaking. Blue note were pretty much at the top of their game come W63i and NY label eras, both in terms of pressing quality and RVG engineering prowess.

      • We have established my copy of 4077 is actually a North Korean bootleg pressed on recycled surplus statues of Kim Jong-il, sourced from tapes of broadcasts of Radio Free Taiwan. “Stereo” is actually the Korean word for “Rubbish”. I am not posting any more Blue Notes.

  5. For Blue Note, Atlantic & Prestige I have found that my preference for Mono/Stero depends…

    I find that pre-1961-63 I prefer mono, and that from 1961-63 I prefer Stereo. Which leaves a grey area between 1961-63 when it can go either way.

    For Contemporary I will push the Stereo envelop a bit earlier, (and also certain titles from Columbia such as Kind of Blue (1958)) but that 1961-63 transition period hold pretty well for me In terms of sound quality differences.

    All of which is much much better than what happened in the early 1970s which just sounds awful regardless.

    • ““Stereo” … not to be spoken about openly among collectors who prize mono as the definitive original version.”

      Dottore, your ears must have been burning…You are, indeed, “DottorMonoJazz”
      .
      By observation, mono is the more sought after in auctions and commands generally a higher price, may be 10-15% more. It is the opposite of what Goldmine says but who takes any notice of Goldmine prices.

      Not a scientic survey but you see on occasions there are two copies of the same title on auction at the same time, a mono and a stereo. Mono seems more collectable, especially among the Japanese price-setters.

      .

  6. Nice copy, sounds great. I have both mono and stereo of this lp but I like them equally, although I really like hearing more of the studio echo on the stereo copy. Another great date that I would love to have in original stereo is Ready for Freddie, although I really like it in mono. Anyway, I’m rambling on. Peace.

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