Top positive review
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A "must have" Classic
on 28 March 2004
I first heard this record on Humphrey Lyttelton's radio programme nearly twenty years ago during a period when a lot of classic Blue Note records were being re-released. The track played was the barn-storming version of "Scrapple from the apple" and demonstrated the tenor man on top of his game, no doubt inspired by the cracking rhythm team. It is funny to learn in the liner notes that this disc was originally intended to feature Kenny Drew on piano and a programme of originals. The compositions were not considered good enough and due to the replacement pianist being unable to grasp unfamiliar material,it was decided to put together an album devoted to well known tunes that would not give any difficulty. This led to the creation of this masterpiece where all four musicians play with complete abandon.
Whilst the album "Go" is largely considered to be Gordon's best record from this era, I doubt if it is possible to find two more swinging tracks that the aforementioned "Apple" and "Broadway." Pianist Bud Powell struggles manfully with an out of tune piano, although this does not detract from the album as much as with Hank Mobley's "Roll Call" as his solos are limited. This is clearly Dexter's album - even though he is nearly upstaged by some of Kenny Clarkes' incredible drumming that still sounds remarkably contemporary today.
Other tracks such as a sleezy version of "Willow weep for me" and the beautiful ballad "Strairway to the stars" are hugely enjoyable. Even the old warhouse "A Night in Tunisia " gets a good work-out,Dexter's solo's often interpolating wry quotes from other standards. This CD even comes with two bonus tracks, one of which omits the leader's saxophone.
To conclude, this is a studio album that has the excitement of a live date and in "Broadway " and "Scrapple", includes two of the hardest swinging tracks in the history of jazz. Recorded at the same time as Coltrane's classic Quartet, "Our man in Paris " demonstrates that Bebop was still very much alive in 1962. This disc should be in every jazz fan's collection.