I Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out To Dry
Second Balcony Jump
Love For Sale
Where Are You?
Three O'Clock In The Morning
The lingering image of the late Dexter Gordon comes from Round Midnight, the 1986 film in which he portrayed the fictional Dale Turner, old and wise, playing soul-deep expressive tenor ballads while seated in a chair. But young Dexter was an OG West Coast bebopper with direct experience of the swing era in the early ’40s, an heir to Lester Young, cutting his teeth with Lionel Hampton, Louis Armstrong, Fletcher Henderson, Billy Eckstine, and more. His first recordings as a leader featured Nat “King” Cole and Harry “Sweets” Edison; the Savoy sides from 1946, among them “Long Tall Dexter” with Bud Powell and Max Roach, are essential high bebop-era texts. By the time Go and other Blue Note classics saw release in the early ’60s, Gordon was a major figure, as authoritative as could be. His solid yet laidback approach to swing rhythm achieved perfect form on this late August 1962 set with pianist Sonny Clark, bassist Butch Warren, and drummer Billy Higgins. (Higgins appeared in Round Midnight as well.)
“Cheese Cake,” the one Gordon original, leads off in a surging minor-key mood (sounding a bit reminiscent of the Hebrew traditional song “Hevenu Shalom Aleichem”). Eckstine’s “Second Balcony Jump,” Cole Porter’s “Love for Sale” (with Higgins’ superb clave groove), and the send-off, “Three O’Clock in the Morning,” offer driving swing in further permutations. “Where Are You?” and “I Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out to Dry” foreshadow that magical Dale Turner sound on a ballad, at which Dexter excelled in every career stage, not just at the end. He recorded A Swingin’ Affair, with the exact same lineup, just two days later.