Import 25 CD boxset containing 25 of the finest Jazz albums ever released. Each album is packaged in a card wallet, and the box set includes a 40 page booklet in both English and French.
Tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon had been an expatriate since 1963 when he discovered Europe was where the consistently paying jazz gigs were to be found. In 1976 he returned to the States and began recording for Columbia Records and also embarked on an acting career. Sony Legacy repackaged and re-released six Dexter Gordon albums of that era in their entirety with mini-LP sleeves and original cover art: Homecoming: Live at the Village Vanguard (1976), Sophisticated Giant (1977), Manhattan Symphonie (1978), Live at Carnegie Hall (1978), and Gotham City (1980).
This excellent Columbia album was recorded less than a year after Dexter Gordon's well-publicized tour of the United States following a dozen years spent living in Europe. With assistance from such other major players as trumpeters Woody Shaw and Benny Bailey, vibraphonist Bobby Gordon sounds in superlative form on Woody Shaw's "The Moontrame," four standards and his own "Fried Bananas." In addition to the original program (which features Dexter with an all-star tentet), the 1997 CD reissue adds two 1979 features for vocalese singer Eddie Jefferson ("Diggin' It" and "It's Only a Paper Moon") which were originally released on Gordon's Great Encounters; trumpeter Shaw and trombonist Curtis Fuller co-star with Gordon. An excellent acquisition.
Dexter Gordon had such a colorful and eventful life (with three separate comebacks) that his story would make a great Hollywood movie. The top tenor saxophonist to emerge during the bop era and possessor of his own distinctive sound, Gordon sometimes was long-winded and quoted excessively from other songs, but he created a large body of superior work and could battle nearly anyone successfully at a jam session. His first important gig was with Lionel Hampton (1940-1943) although, due to Illinois Jacquet also being in the sax section, Gordon did not get any solos.
The acclaim that met Dexter Gordon when he returned to the United States after 14 years in Europe was completely unexpected. Not only did the jazz critics praise the great tenor but there were literally lines of young fans waiting to see his performances. This double CD, recorded during his historic first American tour, improved on the original double LP with the inclusion of previously unreleased versions of "Fried Bananas" and "Body and Soul." Gordon – in a quintet with trumpeter Woody Shaw, pianist Ronnie Mathews, bassist Stafford James, and drummer Louis Hayes – frequently sounds exuberant on these lengthy performances; eight of the ten songs are at least 11 minutes long. The excitement of the period can definitely be felt in this excellent music.