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.
. . .
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
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.