Dexter Gordon: You've Changed

With the exception of a couple of bop/hard-bop sessions (Daddy Plays the Horn and Dexter Blows Hot and Cool), the 1950s was largely a period of narcotics-induced inactivity for Dexter Gordon. As the sixties began, Gordon’s performance career reemerged with his acceptance of Alfred Lion’s offer to record for the Blue Note label. Whether he recorded in the U.S. or in Europe (the latter was Gordon’s home from 1962-1976), Gordon produced some of his finest playing, compositions, and backing bands during his seven-year relationship with the famed label.

While much of Gordon's playing on his Blue Note debut, Doin’ Alright, reinforces his forcefully refined bop styling of the late 1940s and ‘50s, this track presented a new trend in Dexter’s recording career—his penchant for beautiful ballad playing. While he had certainly recorded ballads before this rendition of “You’ve Changed,” one would hardly call Gordon a ballad expert based on his playing in the 1940s and 1950s. He only needed one Blue Note record to institute his mastery of the form, however, as evidenced throughout this faultlessly executed track. Note the eerily beautiful opening line, his ability to present romantic playing at a louder overall volume (for a ballad at least), and his pitch-perfect knack for knowing when to stretch out over the changes and when to reel himself back in and quote from the “You’ve Changed” melody.

April 14, 2009 · 0 comments


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