Dexter Gordon: Gingerbread Boy

This recording contains all the feeling of New York in the ’70s. It was a big event in jazz when Dexter Gordon returned to the scene as a bandleader, his personal charisma in good part spurring on the resurgence of “straight-ahead” jazz in the latter part of the decade. The collaboration of the Shaw/Hayes group with Dexter on this recording, Live at the Vanguard, led to Woody’s signing with CBS and the inception of the most fruitful and successful period of his career. On “Gingerbread Boy,” a blues, Woody engages in a canny strategy (after Dexter’s long solo) of starting his solo trading “twelves” with Louis Hayes, then moving to a continuous solo statement later on—a great way of focusing attention and refreshing a long piece! Hearing Woody alongside Dexter, I really feel the continuity of tradition between these two players of different generations. Even as Woody stakes out his own position (and puts some fire on Dexter in the process!), his reference and knowledge of the tradition complements the older master quite well indeed.

September 17, 2008 · 0 comments


Elvin Jones: Gingerbread Boy

In just about as contrasting a gig as one can get, Elvin Jones spent two weeks touring Europe with Duke Ellington after departing from John Coltrane's group. A brief run as the house drummer at the Blue Note Paris ensued, at which point the time arose for Elvin to assemble a longstanding group as a leader. He chose to return to the pianoless trio format à la his gigs with Sonny Rollins (1957) and Lee Konitz (1961). This time around, Jones chose fellow Coltrane alumnus Jimmy Garrison as bassist and Joe Farrell to play tenor and soprano saxes and flute. These two sensitive players allowed Elvin total rhythmic control to display his post-Trane technical prowess. Elvin's playing at this stage of his career was at a frighteningly high level – so much so that he himself has referred to this record as one of his very best. Note the many classic bop fills that are "Elvinized" on this track through the use of added notes with unexpected limbs and the starting or ending of fills on off-beats.

August 03, 2008 · 0 comments


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