Dexter Gordon: Boston Bernie


Boston Bernie


Dexter Gordon (tenor sax)


L.T.D. – Live at the Left Bank (Prestige PRCD 11018-2)

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Dexter Gordon (tenor sax), Bobby Timmons (piano), Victor Gaskin (bass),

Percy Brice (drums)


Composed by Dexter Gordon


Recorded: The Famous Ballroom, Baltimore, Maryland, May 4, 1969


Rating: 92/100 (learn more)

In the spring of 1969, seven years before he would make his dramatic permanent return to the United States, Gordon took a trip to America, where he would play three dates that led to the release of five albums of prime Gordon material. Three of the five records consist of material from studio sessions on April 2nd and 4th (Power!, The Tower of Power!, and More Power!), and the two other albums, L.T.D. and XXL, contain music from a single live outing in Baltimore on May 4th.

From what I can find, L.T.D. and XXL are the only two recordings that find Dexter Gordon and Bobby Timmons playing together, and their instant bond makes these albums true gems in the discographies of both musicians. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever heard Gordon have more fun playing than on these two recordings, evidenced here by the commonly-called Gordon original, “Boston Bernie.” Once Gordon and Timmons get started on this track—along with most others on these two discs—it’s tough to stop them. The solos are very long but are absolutely jam-packed with an endless supply of effortless ideas. Throughout Gordon’s improvisation, the usual combination of quotes, spiraling bop lines and single-note motives abound, but on this specific track, the addition of a heightened awareness of his gospel/blues surroundings make this peppery Gordon solo an exclusive gem.

Reviewer: Eric Novod

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