'Strollin', by The Dexter Gordon Quartet
Dexter Gordon (1923-1990), also known as ‘The Sophisticated Giant’ because of his 6’6”, played in various big bands during the 1940’s (Lionel Hampton, Louis Armstrong and Billy Eckstine, to name a few) and became a central figure in the ‘Central Avenue’ scene in Los Angeles, were major saxophone battles were held.
Around 1952, drug problems resulted in some jail time and periods of inactivity during the 1950’s, but in 1960, he was ‘rediscovered’ and recorded a consistently rewarding series of dates for Blue Note. Just when he was regaining his former popularity, Gordon moved to Europe (mainly Paris and Copenhagen) where he would stay until 1976. While on the continent, he was in peak form and Gordon’s many SteepleChase recordings rank with the finest work of his career, like ‘The Apartment' from 1974.
He was, to an extent, forgotten in his native land, and it was therefore a major surprise that his return in 1976 was treated as a major media event. A great deal of interest was suddenly shown in the living legend and he remained a popular figure until his gradually worsening health made him semi-active by the early 1980’s. His final comeback occurred when he was picked to star in the movie 'Round Midnight, and was nominated for an Academy Award, four years before his death after a very full life.
Today’s song ‘Strollin’' (written by Horace Silver) is so beautifully recorded, it deserves your headphones.
Dexter Gordon - Tenor Saxophone
Kenny Drew - Piano
Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen - Bass
Albert Heath - Drums