Monday, March 08, 2010

Dexter Gordon, Wardell Gray - Citizens Bop (1946-1952)
I didn't have anything uploaded for this week so I though I'd throw this in - a little off the beaten path for 8 Days, it's awesome music though I'm sure some of you will be glad to get it!

"In November 1946, tenor saxophonist Wardell Gray led a bop quartet that recorded for Sunset Records in Hollywood. The group featured Dodo Marmarosa on piano (who was living on the West Coast at the time after leaving Artie Shaw's band a year earlier); Red Callender on bass; and Chuck Thompson on drums.

Among the tracks recorded that day was Easy Swing, which has a bop line that's virtually identical to Charlie Parker's Steeplechase. Except Steeplechase wasn't recorded yet by Bird and wouldn't be until September 1948. Talk about Bird taking something home from the West Coast after his stay at Camarillo State Hospital! Or perhaps Bird gave the bop line to Wardell for his recording date. We'll never know.

Flash forward to June 1952. Wardell Gray and tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon get together at Swing Time records for another one of their famed tenor battle sessions. The group featured Gerry Wiggins on piano and organ, Red Callender on bass, and Chuck Thompson on drums.

The reason I mention both sessions is that they are fabulous and are available on one CD, which I spotted a week ago tucked away under Wardell Gray's name at iTunes.

The $11.98 download (and CD available on the web) is called Citizens Bop (Black Lion) and offers 12 tracks from three different dates. If you're a fan of Dexter's and Wardell's, and of West Coast bop, this download is breathtaking for the ideas that pour forth and the quality of the remastered sound. I found the Wardell Gray Quartet session from 1946 to be one of Wardell's strongest and most inventive outings.

Most importantly, there are two ballads on this download—one featuring Dexter and the other Wardell.

The Dexter ballad is My Kinda Love (1952) and is one moody, masterpiece with a fabulous tag at the end. Dexter's solo is pure smoke and gives you a hint of where he is heading artistically and where he winds up later in the decade and in the 1960s.

The Wardell ballad is The Man I Love (1946)—but Wardell never once plays the melody as written. Instead, he invents a completely new song off the cuff as the rhythm section comps the chord changes. Seriously smart stuff.

These two tracks, along with the other 10, represent a vivid and spirited West Coast bop document. I spent the last four days listening to the CD several times at each sitting. Despite repeated playing, I never once found myself bored or disappointed.

The CD's only flaw—and it's minor—is Jingle Jangle Jump, a holiday-season jump boogie featuring Wardell and Dexter and a vocal by Gladys Bentley. (Bentley was an openly gay blues singer in the 1920s and 1930s who performed in men's clothes and relocated to California in the 1940s, where she recorded and sang at clubs.) Jingle features upbeat tenor solos, but it's too much of a novelty number for this CD.

Otherwise, the Wardell Gray/Dexter Gordon CD is bop perfect from start to finish." (jazzwax.com)

1. The Rubaiyat—Wardell and Dexter (1952)
2. My Kinda Love—Dexter ballad (1952)
3. Citizens Bop—Wardell and Dexter (1952)
4. One for Prez—Wardell (1946)
5. Jingle Jangle Jump—Wardell + Dexter (1952) w/ vocal
6. Dell's Bells—Wardel (1946)
7. I Hear You Knockin'—Wardell (1952) mimics the early r&b tenor sound popular then
8. The Man I Love—Wardell (1946)
9. Easy Swing—Wardell (1946)
10. Man with a Horn—Maurice Simon on bari (1952)
11. Blue Lou—Wardell (1947) with Erroll Garner on piano
12. The Rubaiyat—alternate take

Dexter Gordon - Tenor Sax
Wardell Gray - Tenor Sax
Gerry Wiggins - Piano, Organ
Red Callender - Bass
Chuck Thompson - Drums
Gladys Bentley - Vocal track 5
Maurice Simon - Baritone Sax track 10
Dodo Marmarosa - Piano
Erroll Garner - Piano
Jackie Mills - Drums

EAC-FLAC-LOG-CUE-SCANS 214MB

Part 1__Part 2

Later!

10 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

67 downloads and no comments?

Thanks for this! And thank f*** RS has started working for me again. :)

frumpy

3:20 PM, March 11, 2010  
Blogger marram62 said...

thanks, mr. GarColga from Anytown, USA ....

you sir have a very influential blog and it is one of my inspirations as i carry on in my constant seeking of new areas in which to be enlightened musically...thank you for the good job you do here.

4:11 AM, March 12, 2010  
Blogger marram62 said...

p.s: i was born 4-8-62...the eighth day into April...my favorite time of year.

4:14 AM, March 12, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love Be bop and this is a classic,cheers mate(hotroder)

11:10 PM, March 13, 2010  
Blogger GarColga said...

Hi frumpy glad RS is OK for you!

Hello marram62 - almost your birthday!

Hi hotroder!!

5:32 PM, March 16, 2010  
Blogger Brad Geiger said...

Just stumbled onto your site. (Seems like with the best sites I can't recall how I got there the first time.) You have incredible, hard-to-find, obscure stuff that I've never seen anywhere else! Some of it is bands I never heard of from the 60's-70's (and I thought I knew most of them). Anyway, glad I found you!

12:33 PM, March 18, 2010  
Blogger GarColga said...

Hello Brad welcome to 8 Days In April!

1:49 PM, March 18, 2010  
Blogger mybonnie77 said...

Thanks for share. Good taste my friend.

8:12 AM, April 04, 2010  
Blogger troods said...

Really looking forward to hearing this album. This site may be heaven. Thank you for your hard work and generosity.

11:01 PM, April 05, 2010  
Blogger GarColga said...

Hi mybonnie & troods, thanks for the kind words!

12:48 PM, April 19, 2010  

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