Dexter Gordon: Gettin’ Around (1965) Blue Note (updated 3/12)

UPDATE III: December 3, 2020, both rips replaced with new and comparable copies, made yesterday on the same equipment on the same day. This eliminates the problem of the old USB rip being out of pitch with the MM33.

UPDATE II: November 24, a change from jazz, over at my sister blog Age Improves With Wine, fruits of lockdown and an unexpected Summer-long exploration into French Rosé: Grape Expectations, Think Pink

UPDATE: pictures added foot of post,  Bobby Hutcherson Antibes 1969 and Dexter Gordon, Montreux, 1970, courtesy of Harry M., The Jazz Paparazzi.

Poking around among unfinished business may not be a good plan for life, but leads to discovery of things which should be completed , but for some reason remained incomplete. I’m pretty certain it was a good reason, but it’s never too late to do the right thing. Join me on late discovery, Dexter Gordon’s Gettin’ Around, from Music Matters Jazz.

dexter-gordon-gettin-around-blue-note-mm33-cover-1920-ljcMusic Matters Jazz 33: Selection: Manha de Carnaval (Antonio Maria/ Luiz Bonfa) new replacement rip December 2020

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Reference comparison: BLP 4204 original mono, NY  label, VAN GELDER,  no “ear” (1st Blue Note issue by Liberty) released July 1966 New comparable  rip added December 2020

.  .  .

Brazilian jazz bossa, principal theme from the 1959 Portuguese-language film Orfeu Negro/ Black Orpheus by French director Marcel Camus. Cover versions number in hundreds, but notable among small jazz combos,  Wayne Shorter/ Wayning Moments (VeeJay 1961) and the usual  suspects Stan Getz, Paul Desmond, Gerry Mulligan and MJQ

Artists

Dexter Gordon, tenor saxophone;  Bobby Hutcherson, vibraphone; Barry Harris, piano; Bob Cranshaw, bass; Billy Higgins, drums; recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, May 28-9, 1965.  Dexter spent a couple of years based in Paris, returned to New York to  record this session by Rudy, and promptly headed to Denmark, where most of his sessions over the next couple of years were recorded at Jazzhus Montmartre, Copenhagen, for Steeplechase. Why send out for a Danish when you can fetch it yourself?

Music

The mid-’60s found Dexter living in France and Denmark, returning to the U.S. for the occasional recording session. “Dexter chilling out, adopting a tonal emphasis more under the surface than in your face” (says All Music). “His large sound, ability to play long solos with creativity, and infectiously swinging style made Long Tall Dexter an irresistible force for many years. He fitted into the hard bop world as effortlessly as he did in bop and swing settings, infusing the music with humorous song quotes, rousing ideas, and his wonderful tone. No one could out swing Gordon”. (Music Matters Jazz)

The selection is the familiar brazilian bossa from  Black Orpheus, lyric replaced by Dexter’s characteristic slow burn tenor, deep and luxurious tone, caressing the words but never quite letting rip, keeps the lamp burning low. As commented in a recent post, with standards, lyrics can be expressed instrumentally, not sung, but nevertheless the words are still present. 

For the benefit of karaoke types who would like to sing along, here is ’40s ’50s ’60s popular singer Perry Como (Catch A Falling Star, Magic Moments )  English language lyric:

“I’ll sing to the sun in the sky, I’ll sing ‘till the sun rises high, Carnival time is here, Magical time of year, And as the time draws near, Dreams lift my heart!  I’ll sing as I play my guitar, I’ll cling to a dream from afar, Will love come my way, This Carnival day, And stay here in my heart?”

With schmaltz like this, get me a heart by-pass – no, make that a triple by-pass. Gimme the knife quick, I’ll do it myself. Instrumental every time!

The strength of this session is the pairing of Dexter’s tenor and Bobby Hutcherson’s vibraphone, underpinned by the vibrant piano of Barry Harris, and rhythm section Billy Higgins and Bob Cranshaw, on loan from Lee Morgan, to stitch it all together. Gordon is a little restrained to my ear, but that may be the result of listening to a lot of Billy Harper recently, leaving me with a need for speed, drop a cog and go!  I’ll get over it.

Vinyl: MMJ 33 BST 84204 (review copy)

Music Matters Jazz 33 offers its familiar wide-stage presentation, maximum musical detail extracted from original tapes. By 1965 Van Gelder was very comfortable with stereo mix , so it is largely free from hard-panning artefacts. Nevertheless the stereo surgically dissects the line up, Higgins bossa backbone hard right, Gordon and Hutcherson separated in space as competing instruments, unlike their mono musical embrace.

“This audiophile vinyl reissue is mastered from the original analog tape and pressed on 180g virgin vinyl at RTI in Camarillo, CA. The highest quality gatefold cover features original session photography inside. Price: $64.95. In Stock” . MM33 are the best modern audiophile issues, and more accessible than the originals which I generally prefer.

Verdict?

The rips have been replaced by bang up to date equivalents. The original has more punch and vitality. The MM33 is more hesitant, softer, doesn’t command my attention in the same way.  The difference is not small.   It has nothing to do with sentiment, or availability. only what they sound like. Truth has no agenda, it is merely down to how they sound, and the emotional impact of the music on the listener. The original sounds better to me.

Cover Design of Note

Reid Miles cover design is a perfect illustration of the Rule Of Thirds. Most amateurs place the object of interest in the centre, which is why their photos are invariably uninteresting. Under the Rule of Thirds, the object of interest – Dexter’s face –  is placed at the intersection of one third from  bottom and one third from  the nearest side. 

A frame has four potential 1/3 intersections – top left or right, bottom left or right. Which works best is dependent on the content. Here, bottom right works best. All the parked cycles are facing left, Dexter is cycling right, which gives the composition dynamic tension. Reid Miles genius.

You can break that rule sometimes, for a good resason – not because your camera spot- focusses in the centre –  but applying that simple idea to composition transformed my photography.

dexter-gordon-gettin-around-blue-note-mm33-labels-1920-ljcBlue Note (original) BN 4204 mono VAN GELDER, no ear – Liberty All-Disc 1st pressing.

The original mono is more dense, visceral, but still natural sounding, typical of Van Gelder mastering. The comparison between mono and stereo really points up the difference between the formats. Though I like them both, my heart belongs to mono, even after the by-pass.

Original, Inner Sleeve 1966 inner sleeve. No problem? The devil is in the detail. The inner sleeve present is the “wrong” earlier 1966 sleeve, not the later 1966 sleeve used mostly by Liberty after the sale. .  The unique identifier of that later sleeve (below right) is, ironically, … Dexter Gordon’s Gettin’ Around

Analysis by release date from Billboard suggests this should have the later 1966 inner. The fact that it doesn’t once again demonstrates the maxim that anything can happen in manufacturing. With the stock of the final 1966 inner design printed and delivered to Liberty’s  All-Disc plant, – not Plastylite –  perhaps there was a batch of surplus stock of the earlier design at the printers,  shipped to get rid of it. July 1966 was a point of corporate transition, hand-overs can be messy.

MMJ Gatefold: Wolff black and white studio portraiture, beautiful as always. Whilst real life is in colour, monochrome, like mono, distills the essence, without the distraction of irrelevant information, like background wallpaper, furnishing and curtains, Fire Exit sign, studio roof beams, and instrument positioning. We are talking music, not interior design.

These guys are giants, all gone, but here, they live forever.

dexter-gordon-gettin-around-blue-note-mm33-back-1920-ljcCollector’s Corner

Review copy courtesy of Music Matters Jazz, which I am shocked to say I failed to put out in a timely way. Better late than never, sorry, Ron R. but still, it sold well without my endorsement.

The mono original maxes at aroung $400, a price which falls quickly toward $200. However there was a suprise waiting for one bidder, who I suspect confused Yen with USD. Not Photoshopped, not April 1st, a genuine auction result (or a sophisticated money-laundering scheme)

I see Popsikers awarded the price only two stars. Kind of depends whose side you are on, the buyer or the seller. Either way it’s a  zero or a  five. Maybe they average it to two.

More than expected copies in shrink – Liberty NY 1966? Somebody thinks it’s an “ultra rare original ’64 Blue Note” (hmmm… and no ear?) Just a couple of stereo, mono rules.

Dexter’s most collectable and expensive record is, as many will know, his 1959 Dootone “Dexter Blows Hot And Cool“, which maxes at $3,000;  a record cover which single-handedly set back the work of the anti-smoking lobby by a decade, or longer.

If only smoking wasn’t so damn cool looking and photogenic, that is one smoking cover.

UPDATE Harry M., The Jazz Paparazzi, was there. Bobby Hutchcherson at Antibes, 1969, Dexter Gordon at Montreux, 1970.

Photo-credits: Harry M

Any Dexter favourites out there? Mine remains One Flight Up, with Donald Byrd, however, the floor is yours.

 

LJC

 

 

12 thoughts on “Dexter Gordon: Gettin’ Around (1965) Blue Note (updated 3/12)

  1. Just received the 45 rpm Music Matters version and noticed a quirk compared to your photo of the gatefold cover, my inside cover has a different photo of Dexter on the inside left – , I wonder why?

  2. I agree with One Flight Up ,great album . Also find the following fine Dexter . The Dial Quartet recordings , The Resurgence on Jazzland recorded by Wally Heider and the trio recording for Steeplechase titled Lullaby for a Monster with Neils Pederson and Alex Reil , they even re-visit Tanya from One Flight Up.

  3. Something is not right with those two files. The MMJ is noticeably slower (lower pitch) than the OG and the pitch is wavering all of the shop. I’m a MMJ fan but if that’s how that one sounds I’ll be steering well clear, none of the ones I have do that. Might be worth checking again inc case something untoward happened with the deck perhaps?

    • I feared it would come to this – the rips were taken on different systems at different times, years apart, and they don’t do justice to the comparison. I have an electrical problem right now but will seek to remedy ASAP.

      • That makes perfect sense, thank you. Naturally I assumed you created them at the same time.
        I’ll be honest, I skipped straight the to two files even before reading the headline and just assumed the MMJ was the 45 for whatever reason, I guess as there aren’t that many duplicates. When I read a post on the SHF stating his 33 (cut much later of course) included the intro I then assumed something happened in the initial mastering but as yours is a 33 then I’m at a loss as to how these two 33s can be different.

        Anyway, it’s a lovely album which I hope to pick up one day in one form or another.
        ATB.

  4. as a former smoker, the thing that amazes me about smoking the most is how dumb it sounds that people do it because it’s cool… yet that is in fact why almost everyone ever picked up smoking. so strange.

    • Likewise an ex-smoker, never a non-smoker. The late Bill Hicks summed up being a smoker. Mordant, unapologetic humour.

      ” A lot of my friends have given up smoking. Scared of cancer. Bloody cowards”.

      Asked “how many a day?”, he volunteered “Two” “What, two packs?” “No, two lighters”

  5. This post made me take my Van Gelder Liberty stereo copy off the shelf to check the intro and lo and behold, it has the extra bars at the beginning just like your mono clip. I wonder why Music Matters lopped off the beginning of Manha de Carnaval, the drum intro really helps set the stage. It also appears that the catalog number in the side 1 runout was misscribed and corrected below.

  6. source Wikipedia- regarding the rule of thirds:Fibonacci retracement is a popular tool that technical traders use to help identify strategic places for transactions, stop losses or target prices to help traders get in at a good price. The retracement concept is used in many indicators such as Tirone levels, Gartley patterns, Elliott Wave theory and more. After a significant movement in price (be it up or down) the new support and resistance levels are often at these lines.

    Unlike moving averages, Fibonacci retracement levels are static prices. They do not change. This allows quick and simple identification and allows traders and investors to react when price levels are tested. Because these levels are inflection points, traders expect some type of price action, either a break or a rejection. The 0.617 Fibonacci retracement that is often used by stock analysts approximates to the “golden ratio”

    ._________________________________________________________________

    LJC replies: the “golden ratio” /”golden mean” is in the context of graphic design, rather than stock trading. A golden rectangle has a longer side a and shorter side b, when placed adjacent to a square with sides of length a, will produce a similar golden rectangle with longer side a + b and shorter side a. (Wiki) The “golden mean” therefore refers to just the horizontal axis.

    In photography, the Law Of Thirds applies the golden mean principle to both the horizontal and the vertical axis, hence the point of intersection at 1/3rd horizontal and 1/3rd vertical. There are potentially four such points of intersection within the frame – upper left, upper right, lower left and lower right. The preferred point is dictated by the subject and other content, for example, in the subject’s direction of gaze within the frame.

  7. I love all things Dexter. I did an admittedly poor comparison between your online version of Mahna, and a Ron McMaster CD. No, not exactly a blind A-B test, but I’d say both the Music Matters and your Blue Note vinyl were more immediate and three dimensional than the CD. Nice to hear the music come more to life.

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