Dexter Gordon: Dexter Rides Again


Dexter Rides Again


Dexter Gordon Quintet


Young Dex 1944-1946 (Masters Of Jazz MJCD 128)

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Dexter Gordon (tenor sax), Bud Powell (piano), Max Roach (drums), Curly Russell (bass),

Leonard Hawkins (trumpet)


Composed by Dexter Gordon and Bud Powell


Recorded: New York, January 29, 1946


Rating: 92/100 (learn more)

Directly following performances with Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker in 1945, Dexter Gordon capitalized on his bop momentum by recording this classic date as a leader with the top-notch bop rhythm section of Bud Powell, Curly Russell, and Max Roach. Digging into the changes here more than ever before, Gordon’s solo on “Dexter Rides Again” strings together several genuine, stand-alone bebop lines without sacrificing a traditional overarching storyline. Check out 00:51-00:59 for one of the strongest developmental lines from the middle of his solo.

There are two other important points to note here. First, the true enormity of Gordon’s trademark wide-open tone is more evident here than ever before. Perhaps because the Pres aesthetic, the Hawkins/Jacquet-inspired strong tone, and the bebop vocabulary have finally coalesced into a unified “Dexter Gordon sound” for the first time here, there’s a jovial, declaratory quality to these proceedings. Fortunately, this atmosphere is not a one-time offer, as these magnetic Gordon characteristics govern all of his future sessions.

Finally, the famous “Jingle Bells” quote should be pointed out—not because it’s necessarily his most creative, but because it’s yet another example of a major Gordon mainstay. Not only does he find a witty quote that works, but, as all capable quoters do, he artistically alters the final few notes to begin a new improvised line over the next chord without missing a step. All things considered, “Dexter Rides Again” is an ideal three-minute encapsulation of the newly arrived and fully defined Gordon style.

Reviewer: Eric Novod

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