Dexter Gordon, Montmartre 1964 features selections from a series of performances at the Jazzhus Montmartre in Copenhagen in 1964. It features legendary Tenor Saxophone player Dexter Gordon with a band that includes Tete Montoliu on Piano, Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen on Bass and Alex Riel on Drums.
Listening to this album takes you back to the atmosphere and sound of Jazzhus Montmartre on a random night in the 1960s. Engulfing you in Dexter Gordon’s enormous aura. Dexter’s arrival in Copenhagen had a tremendous impact that left a lasting impression on the Danish jazz scene. His playing was superb, with a giant sound that was unique and captivating.
Alex Riel, known as The Godfather of Danish Drummers and a member of the Dexter Gordon band on this album, remembers “It wasn’t a case of going to work, even though we played every, single night in June, July and August during the summer of 1964. Dexter and Tete were there solely for the music, and so were Niels-Henning and I. It is so obvious when I hear the music today. Dexter loved being in Montmartre.”
Dexter Gordon, Montmartre 1964 is one of the 2xHD Historic Series of vintage Monophonic recordings from the Storyville Records catalog. The album has been transferred from Analog to DSD 256 by Rene Laflamme. It has been issued by arrangement with the Estate of Dexter Gordon. The album is exclusively available in Stereo DSD 512 from NativeDSD Music.
Dexter Gordon – Tenor Saxophone & Vocals
Tete Montoliu – Piano
Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen – Bass
Alex Riel – Drums
Total time: 00:36:55
|Analog Tape Recorder||
NAGRA-T Tape Recorder – modified with all tube playback electronics
|Analog to Digital Converter||
Horus, Merging Technologies
Siltech & Shunyata
Rene Laflamme – Analog to DSD 256 Transfer, Tom Caulfield – DSD 256 to DSD 512 Transfer
|Original Recording Format|
Jazzhus Montmartre in Copenhagen, Denmark in July 1964
Pyramix Masscore, Merging Technologies
|Release Date||November 5, 2021|
Yes, Dexter Gordon, at the height of his powers in the 1960s. But no, not that Montmartre: this four-track set was recorded in Denmark at Copenhagen’s Jazzhus Montmartre, the Saxophonist’s musical residence for many years.
Taken from Mono recordings made on various nights, this is part of 2xHD’s Historic Series, featuring Tete Montoliu on piano, and Scandi-jazz giants bassist Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen, at 18 then a relative newcomer, and Alex Riel, aka the Godfather of Danish drummers.
Gordon’s Sax sounds as only he could make it. Massive, powerful, confident, at ease and improvising with real flair. While his partners in crime more than match his creativity. Dismiss it as ancient and mono at your peril for in this 2xHD restoration, we have fresh performances, and a sound to enjoy, despite the limitations of the source.
Not only did no artist look better posing with a cigarette than Dexter Gordon (as proven by this cover as well as a surfeit of others in the past), but few gave lyrical or spoken intros to each tune like Long Tall Dexter. This album, from a collection of gigs in Copenhagen, 1964, have the tenor titan backed by a snappy team of pianist Tete Montoliu, drummer Alex Riel and then-newcomer but soon to be bass giant Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen, who shows hard hitting nimble fingers throughout this toe tapping set.
Dexter is dapper as delivers the lyrics to “Misty” with bohemian aplomb before producing a bel canto rendition on his voluminous shorn. Montoliu and NHOP bounce to the bluesy “Loose Walk” and Riel drives like Mario Andretti on “Manha de Carnival”. This quartet reflects the era and attitude of big, bold, and beautiful pride in the basic ingredients of the musical meal. Filling and tasty with no gimmicks. This is what sold me on jazz in the first place.
The American tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon first came to Europe in 1962 for a two-week gig at Ronnie Scott’s, and decided to stay for a while. Apart from a few brief visits home, which stay lasted 14 years. He settled in Copenhagen, with the city’s Montmartre Jazz Club as his base. His presence attracted the best local musicians, who soon became much more than mere accompanists, as this collection of live recordings proves.
The saxophonist sounds right at home in Copenhagen, supported by an able European band, in this warm live recording. Gordon was in great form, and his supple, mercurial style, with a tendency to phrase just behind the beat, would have been pretty demanding, but drummer Alex Riel, pianist Tete Montoliu and bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (aged 18 at the time) rise splendidly to the occasion.
You can tell that Gordon feels at home from the number of outrageous quotations he inserts into his solos. But the warm, dry breadth of his tone, clarity of improvised line and sheer command of the instrument are uplifting. Outstanding among the tracks are I Want More a Gordon original, and a masterly rendition of Misty, which is as close as we’ll ever get now to the man himself.
During the 1960s and 70s Dexter Gordon had based himself in Europe, in Paris then Copenhagen, and such was his popularity and the esteem in which he was held that during his time in Denmark, in the summer of 1964, he had a three-month engagement at the Montmartre, playing to full houses, as well as regular hour-long broadcasts on Danish radio.
Many will recall the club performances and broadcasts (Dexter In Radioland) that were released on the SteepleChase label. This, never before released, is from that period and shows Gordon at his peak – relaxed, inventive and at ease with the extremely competent rhythm section that played with him throughout that summer.
Gordon’s full-sounding, warm tenor covers material he regularly played at this time, although Big Fat Butterfly also includes his vocals. Montoliu is lively and closely supportive, Riel busily fills in and keeps the steady momentum, whilst the 18-year-old Ørsted Pedersen shows what a prodigious talent he was – he had made his debut at the club in 1961 at the age of 15.
It’s well recorded, capturing the live atmosphere of the club, and presenting a mixture of ballads and uptempo numbers. Gordon plays slightly behind the beat, as was his wont, on Luis Bonfa’s Manha De Carnaval, whilst Montoliu, following his leader’s predilection for inserting musical quotations, gives a glimpse of Stella By Starlight and Moanin’ during his clearly articulated solo.
Garner’s Misty shows what a beautiful balladeer the tenor man was, although whilst he follows the melody, he can’t resist tipping his beret to Rollins by dropping in a phrase from How Are Things In Glocca Morra. The lively I Want More and Loose Walk see a tight, hard-edged Gordon, and both he and Montoliu stretch out with Riel’s propulsive urgency a feature. This is Gordon’s album and a fine example of his playing at its best.
Listening to this album takes you back to the atmosphere and sound of Jazzhus Montmartre on a random night in the 1960s, engulfing you in Dexter Gordon’s enormous aura. Dexter’s arrival in Copenhagen had a tremendous impact that left a lasting impression on the Danish jazz scene. He was handsome and well-dressed.
His playing was superb, with a giant sound; his introductions and showmanship were unique and captivating. In addition, Dexter felt the Danish mentality was well-suited for playing and enjoying jazz.
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