Aug 27, 2012
Dexter Gordon had been recording his soulful saxophone stylings for almost fifteen years when he signed a contract with Blue Note Records. He had largely been forgotten at that point, and few could foresee that he would record and release an amazing six albums of classic material in three years, beginning in 1961.
Fifty years ago today, August 27, 1962, Gordon and his band – pianist Sonny Clark, bassist Butch Warren and drummer Billy Higgins – entered Van Gelder Studio in Englewood Cliffs, NJ for a day-long session that would become Go!, probably my favorite Dexter Gordon album. Two days later, the same musicians returned to the studio to record what would be released as A Swingin' Affair. These would also be his last recordings before leaving the United States for Europe, an exile that lasted fifteen years.
Beside Gordon’s best known composition, “Cheese Cake”, Go! has a series of wonderful ballads by Cole Porter (“Love for Sale”) and Jule Styne (“Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out to Dry”) and a swinging Billy Eckstine tune (“Second Balcony Jump”). According to the liner notes by writer Ira Gitler, this session was "not recorded in a nightclub performance but, in its informal symmetry, it matches the relaxed atmosphere that the best of those made in that manner engender. Everyone was really together, in all the most positive meanings of that word."