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Dexter Gordon: Subway Club (Germany 1973)

Regular price $15.99

Dexter Gordon's 14-year European exile between 1962 and 1977 netted an extraordinary number of recordings both live and in-studio. Given the great saxophonist's recalcitrance to vary his established repertoire of standards and pop nuggets, fans have had to sort through them to find the gold. While the studio recordings are consistent for the most part, club and theater performances are less so. There are numerous reasons, ranging from his "choice" of sidemen from night to night (they were sometimes imposed on him), whether he was sober, how attentive audiences were, and of course, the recording quality in a particular venue.

At the Subway Club 1973 compiles a previously unissued date from Köln, Germany, with a rhythm section consisting of American jazzmen Irv Rochlin on piano and Tony Inzalaco on drums, and Dutch bassist Henk Haverhoek. Inzalaco played with Gordon off and on for several years, while Rochlin and Haverhoek both gigged with Ben Webster, among others. Also included are four unreleased "bonus" tracks with different bands from Germany and the Netherlands from 1965 and 1971, respectively. Compiled, produced, and annotated for release by Michael Cuscuna, the Subway Club gig itself stands with the very best of Gordon's recordings from the era. Commencing with a long read of Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Wave," the saxophonist sounds exhilarated as he digs through bossa to find its jazz essence, then creates a solo that is elastic in its relationship to the beat, flitting from one theme to the next, filling his expertly constructed solo with this trademark fragments from other tunes. His read of Jimmy Webb's "Didn't We" is of course an aching ballad that Gordon imbues with slow, simmering emotion; it emerges gradually with carefully architected and dissipating tensions. After delivering his own breezy version of Jimmy Heath's take on Ferde Grofe's "On the Trail," Gordon's band launch into the Doris Day vehicle "Secret Love" and turn it into the hardest-swinging jam on the set. The interplay between Haverhoek and Inzalaco under Gordon's long, roiling solo that unfolds in athletic arpeggios, honks, and moans, are almost frenetic as Rochlin comps and fills, adding tempo and texture. The final track (on disc two) is a nearly-half-hour version of "It's You or No One" that offers solo quotes from his previous versions of the tune. Its intensity is sustained even when all bandmembers solo, and Gordon is in excellent form, delighting in both the rhythm section and the crowd. The Germany 1965 show with pianist George Gruntz, drummer Stu Martin, and bassist Jimmy Woode provides an excellent version of "'Round Midnight with two excellent Gordon solos (particularly the second) while the Hague gig, with an all Dutch quartet from 1971, is enjoyable but not special. That said, the focus, inspiration, and energy of the Subway Club gig makes it an essential entry in Gordon's catalog.

Artist / Credit


Josep Basora - Design
Sammy Cahn - Composer
Michael Cuscuna - Liner Notes
Tadd Dameron - Composer
Miles Davis - Composer
Sammy Fain - Composer
Dexter Gordon - Composer, Group Member, Sax (Tenor)
Dexter Gordon - Quartet Primary Artist
Maxine Gordon - Executive Producer, Liner Notes
Ferde Grofé - Composer
George Gruntz - Piano
Henk Haverhoek - Bass, Group Member
Arthur Herzog, Jr. - Composer
Tony Inzalaco - Drums, Group Member
Antônio Carlos Jobim - Composer
Irene Kitchings - Composer
Lee Konitz - Composer
Stu Martin - Drums
Thelonious Monk - Composer
Irv Rochlin - Group Member, Piano
Cees Slinger - Piano
Jordi Soley - Producer
Jule Styne - Composer
Martin van Duynhoven - Drums
Maarten Van Regteren Altena - Bass
Jimmy Webb - Composer
Paul Francis Webster - Composer
Francis Wolff - Cover Photo, Inlay Photography
Jimmy Woode - Bass

Track Listing - Disc 1

Title / Composer / Performer / Time Stream

1. Wave Composed by Antônio Carlos Jobim - 20:46

2. Didn't We Composed by Jimmy Webb - 11:05

3. On the Trail Composed by Ferde Grofé - 16:31

4. Secret Love Composed by Sammy Fain / Paul Francis Webster - 19:48

Track Listing - Disc 2

Title / Composer / Performer / Time Stream

1. It's You or No One Composed by Sammy Cahn / Miles Davis / Lee Konitz / Jule Styne - 27:42

2. Fried Bananas Composed by Dexter Gordon - 13:25

3. Some Other Spring Composed by Arthur Herzog, Jr. / Irene Kitchings - 10:27

4. 'Round Midnight Composed by Thelonious Monk - 11:14

5. Lady Bird Composed by Tadd Dameron - 14:00

Duration: 02:24:58


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