Tokyo 1975

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Tokyo 1975
Live album by Dexter Gordon





Label (s) Elemental Music

Format (s)


Genre (s)


Title (number)


running time




Jordi Soley, Vincent Maladry, Michael Cuscuna (project coordinator)

Location (s)

Yubin Chokin Hall, Tokyo, De Boerenhofstee, Laren, New Haven.

Espace Cardin 1977
Tokyo 1975 1962: Two Days In August

Tokyo 1975 is a jazz album by Dexter Gordon , recorded on three separate appearances in 1973, 1975 and 1977 and released on June 29, 2018 by Elemental Music .


Gordon lived mainly in Paris and Copenhagen during his fourteen-year stay in Europe from 1962; he played with friends and other expats like Bud Powell , Freddie Hubbard and Bobby Hutcherson . A special telepathic connection developed with the pianist Kenny Drew ; so the two u. a. recorded the soundtrack for Ole Eges hardcore film Pornografi: En Musical (1971). Tokyo 1975 captured the saxophonist shortly before his return to the United States.

The four central tracks (which also includes the LP edition) were recorded on October 1, 1975 in the Yubin Chokin Hall in Tokyo. The CD edition contains two further tracks. "Rhythm-A-Ning" was recorded two years before the Japanese tour in Laren, Netherlands. The drummer here is the Norwegian Espen Rud . "Old Folks," recorded at a relaxed pace, was recorded in 1977 in New Haven, Connecticut with Ronnie Matthews (who provides a piano solo), bassist Stafford James and drummer Louis Hayes .

The album's liner notes contain essays by Michael Cuscuna and Dexter Gordon's widow Maxine Gordon.

Music of the album

The opener, an original Gordon called “Fried Bananas,” which he played often during the period, Will Layman wrote, “has a hook melody and a series of chord changes that allow Gordon to run on all cylinders. Gordon carves out large records of free-running melody that arise spontaneously: all logical runs, blues licks interspersed with hard bop twists, small climaxes that develop into larger ones over time. Drew's solo is buried here in the mix - with Pederson's bass up front, as was the case with the recordings. In the process, the band take 'Days of Wine and Roses' for an aggressive walk, with Heath playing with a slightly Afro-Cuban groove and Pederson and Drew each directly involved in the conversation. When Gordon has the solos the bass moves in a 4/4 gear and the melody essentially becomes another opportunity for the band leader to unleash their flowing ideas, chorus by chorus. Pederson competes with him on his solo and plays double time trials. "

The ballad on the program is "Misty", which is presented "lush and controlled," Layman continues. Gordon plays "slightly shaken, hunched over," with heavy vibrato added for sensual emphasis. In Rollins' "Oleo" the horn has "a rough sensitivity to it", "brusquely or brittle in tone". In fact, Gordon quotes twice in the unaccompanied cadenza at the end of "How are Things in Glocca Morra", a Rollins' favorite, and one can hear the influence in the other direction. The subsequent vocal number "Jelly, Jelly, Jelly" (actually "Jelly, Jelly") refers to Gordon's time in Billy Eckstine's band in the 1940s; Gordon's singing is essentially an imitation of Eckstine, and the rhythm section rocks the melody with a strong backbeat. Under Drew's solo the bass and the left hand of the piano for a long distance bind to a rock'n'roll -Basslinie, which shows the author how close Jazz as the jump blues of Louis Jordon or early rock of Little Richard could be.

After the recording from Tokyo in 1975, two more appearances followed; Thelonious Monk's 1973 "Rhythm-A-Ning" and a 1977 New Haven recording after Gordon returned to the US and had been playing with the rhythm section he returned to the Village Vanguard (and trumpeter Woody Shaw ). <Rf name = "pop" />

Dexter Gordon 1980, at a performance in the Muziekcentrum Vredenburg in Utrecht

Track list

  • Dexter Gordon Quartet: Tokyo 1975 (Elemental Music - 5990428)
  1. Fried Bananas (Dexter Gordon) 9:29
  2. Days of Wine and Roses ( Henry Mancini , Johnny Mercer ) 8:45
  3. Misty ( Erroll Garner , Johnny Burke ) 10:53
  4. Jelly, Jelly, Jelly ( Billy Eckstine , Earl Hines ) 7:41
  5. Rhythm-A-Ning ( Thelonious Monk ) 14:07
  6. Old Folks ( Dedette Lee Hill , Willard Robison ) 12:44


Leonard Weinreich wrote Jazz News in London, on the recording made over 40 years we experience Dexter in full roar. This is not only his debut in Japan, but also Nils-Henning Ørsted Pedersen's last appearance in this group. At the age of 66, Gordon was "both physically and musically a giant". “The extra-sensory perception of the band, who often performed in the legendary Jazzhus Montmartre Club in Copenhagen, is something different. Hardly surprising, because Kenny Drew had already been Gordon's skilful sparring partner on highly rated US recordings. ”Nils-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, a native of Dane, was a virtuoso bassist who boosted all performances; the author refers at this point to the second chorus of "Days of Wine and Roses". And drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath (a jazz artist, brother of bassist Percy and tenor saxophonist Jimmy ) dig deep into Gordon's playing on "Days of Wine and Roses". Erroll Garner's ballad “Misty,” “usually indicative of a syrupy expression, is approached with sensitivity. Instead of emotional mood, we hear rich, persistent tones from Dexter and a twinkle from Drew, supported by Niels-Henning in monster form. To the delight of the audience, Dexter Gordon sings to “Jelly, Jelly, Jelly”, the Billy Eckstine Back Blues from 1941, “which churned up the second balconies with pleasure” (Apparently Eckstine was once accused of stealing the song from Dexter ). The appreciative applause threatened to raise the roof of the Yubin Chokin [Hall], ”was Weinreich's comment.

Mike Jurkovic rated the album 3½ (out of 5) stars in All About Jazz and said that the Dexter Gordon Quartet in Tokyo 1975 was in many ways a common, but not a frenetic quartet; But the recording is still a great starting point for the start of Elemental Music with previously unpublished jazz performances. "[...] and even if his famous hard tone goes down in any way at this point," the author judges, the music is still an essential part of his canon. With bassist Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen, who forms the core of the band, and drummer Albert “Tootie” Heath, who keeps a stable swing , Gordon begins with a playful reading of his long-standing original “Fried Bananas”. “Then he offers two chestnuts,” Jurkovic continues, “that were neither a challenge then nor now, but are certainly worthwhile, with both Gordon's and Drew's melodic accents in Henry Mancini's ' Days of Wine and Roses' and Erroll Garner's' Misty '. ”The album would be rounded off“ with a lively' Rhythm-a-Ning '”with Espen Rud and the“ Old Folks ”, recorded after his return to the States, with Gordon's homecoming quartet of pianist Ronnie Matthews and bassist Stafford James and drummer Louis Hayes.

Dexter Gordon 1978, Colonial Tavern, Toronto

JD Considine mente in JazzTimes , for most of these recordings, Gordon worked with the same Kenny Drew-led trio that accompanied him on the SteepleChase album The Apartment , “but they play far less reserved at Yubin Chokin Hall than at Studio. ”For example, NHØP's line during the head arrangement of“ The Days of Wine and Roses ”“ is less of an accompaniment than a kind of counter solo, and it's no less lively than Drew's cascading chords and the agitated polyrhythms Heath lays out . ”Gordon asserts his point of view not through virtuosity, but through sheer strength of personality. His trademarks, a keen sense for swing and the preference to put quotes in his solos are very clearly recognizable, but Tokyo 1975 offers the additional pleasure of not only playing him, but also the blues in a boisterous run through Billy Eckstine's " Jelly, Jelly ”singing. Added to this is the “lively performance” of “Rhythm-a-Ning” and “an elegiac, somewhat exaggerated theatrical” interpretation of “Old Folks”.

According to Will Layman, who reviewed the album in Pop Matters, by the time Gordon played his first Japanese concert, his style was set and fully formed. The result is a short concert (less than an hour) in which the band, with all the styles that hardbop can offer, is presented “flying, soulful and playful.” The author also goes into the two bonus tracks : “Rhythm -A-Ning ", recorded two years earlier with Drew and Pederson, presented both of them with a better and more subdued playing style:" Pederson sounds less like a humming, metallic bass player and Drew is more in the mix than having fought back. Gordon also sounds more natural and less pressed on the mic, and the feeling that this was a group of equals kicks through, although it's still the leader who builds a solo with the most oomph and logic. He plays a long solo, never boring, and then Drew adapts, all understatement and right-angled right-angled runs. ”In classic Gordon form, in“ Old Folks ”he starts things“ by reciting the lyrics of the song, and then he starts on "Old Folks" with Ronnie Matthews' piano rolling beautifully struck chords behind the master. Stafford James' bass is a pleasant relief (if less impressive) after all that busy Pederson playing, and Louis Hayes on drums is a slowly developing marvel. Matthews' solo is perhaps more impressive than Gordon's - a great mix of modern jazz and tradition, and when James enters under him around 7:30 you get a sense of what a treat it must have been for the great saxophonist. after all these years in Europe and playing with jazz musicians who weren't quite the best - with a band that could encourage him and mix him up to be in public. "

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b Mike Jurkovic: Dexter Gordon: Dexter Gordon Quartet Tokyo 1975. All About Jazz, August 6, 2018, accessed April 5, 2019 (English).
  2. ^ A b c Will Layman: Dexter Gordon Is Still a Big Part of the Reason Why This Kind of Mainstream Jazz Stirs the Soul. Pop Matters, August 14, 2018, accessed April 1, 2019 .
  3. Discographic information at Discogs
  4. ^ Leonard Weinreich: Tokyo 1975. London Jazz News, February 1, 2018, accessed April 1, 2019 .
  5. JD Considine: Dexter Gordon Quartet: Tokyo 1975 (Elemental), Woody Shaw: Tokyo '81 (Elemental) - Elemental releases two live archival albums recorded primarily in Japan. JazzTimes, August 14, 2018, accessed April 1, 2019 .