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June 07, 1978 - Image 10

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Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1978-06-07

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Page 10 -Wednesday, June 7, 1978-The Michigan Daily
0
Dex,. -ter-ous jazz at the Earle

By R. J. SMITH
The charmingly gruff, commanding
presence of Dexter Gordon struck up
the band again in Ann Arbor, only mon-
ths after his stunning performance at
Power Center. Monday night's show at
the Earle was in a different sort of
musical mood; although the band was
the same, Dexter seemed to conserve
his energy a bit more, sculpting his
sound down to the smallish confines of
the nightclub.
But the man's name was still Dexter
- bop innovator, architect of post-bop,
expatriate musician who left for
Europe and began to receive the ac-
Michigan bAILY
art s
claim he never got in America. And the
show at the Earle was a marvelous suc-
cess.
FROM THE word go, Gordon,
exhibited that strong, masculine feel of
swing that rings through so much of his
music. The first song, Cannonball Ad-
derly's workhorse "On Green Dolphin
Street," was transformed from the
light brood it is so often arranged as,
and was treated as a rousing up-beat
tune designed to introduce the band.
Gordon began rolling long legato
passages, taking small interval jumps,
and setting himself up for the solo
break - and what an impressive
break! Suddenly, the fluidity of his in}
troductory playing gave way to quick
runs and dazzling virtuosity up and
down the horn. A few cracks from the
drummer on the rims and the band
immediately snapped down to a more
civil groove, into a pattern which was
repeated in most of the songs Tuesday
evening: tight ensemble playing, a long
Gordon solo, then solos by piano, bass
and drums, perhaps another Gordon
solo or cadenza to pound everything
home, and then out. It got a bit predic-
table, but always satisfying.
"ON GREEN Dolphin Street" was a
getting-to-know-what-we-do tune. It

Dexter Gordon
kicked even whenThe only ones playing At the song's midpoint, the rhythm countermelodies than anything that
were the drummer (on brushes) and kicked into a basic, fun blues pattern, could be labelled "bop," the band at on-
the bassist, and had solo spots for with Gordon taking his time and getting ce dropped out and let Cables fly off
everyone that were exciting, although all the blues out in a relaxed, yet for- with the melody.
not meaty. ceful fashion. Staying with a highly melodic ap-
But the next song, Gordon's "La Pan- As the rhythm section became proach that can be smooth even when
thera," was everything "Green Dolphin spunkier, Gordon started playing with it's very fast, Cables turned the melody
Street was not. Beginning with a tight abandon - hanging around a par- in upon itself, even quoting fragments
slinky blues feel, the chart was well- ticular phrase momentarily, and then from what Gordon had used in his
conceived and contamed a few sur- quickly darting away. earlier solo. Keeping his hands almost
prising twists. Depending on the tight- exclusively in the higher half of the
ness of the ensemble, the band HE ALSO displayed his Dexter-ous piano keys, Cables still had more than
navigated the turns effortlessly. sense of humor: turning quotations enough room to explore. It was one of
from "Pop Goes the Weasel," "Would the high points of the show.

RECORDS I

Stone Blue
Foghat
Bearsvile BRK6977

Of all the performing bands that
came from England to win the ad-
miration of American audiences, few
have excelled more than the rock-blues
quartet Foghat. More so than any other
British band directly influenced by
American black music; Foghat's roots
are American blues and R&B. Their
style has changed very little since their
arrival in the early 70s. As their new
album Stone Blue testifies, that style
still consists of solid, pounding rock
with a heavy dose of blues,
.The record was written during their
Jngest- period off the road-,si mon-,

ths-and reveals more of the band's
blues roots, by including Elmore
James' "It Hurts Too Much" and
Robert Johnson's "Sweet Home
Chicago." "Stay With Me" and "High
On Love" show off the band's adeptness
at combining blues with the har-
drocking riffs that permeate their
music.
"CHEVROLET," a splendid rocker,
begins in the same manner as any other
Foghat tune, but shows a modicum of
innovation by beginning with vocals
instead of guitars. Lead guitarist Rod
Price has an arsenal of guitars at his
disposal, but he could stand to vary his
solos a bit more, and "Chevrolet" is
no exception.
Foghat sets itself apart from the
mainstream rock bands by its blues
background. With Stone Blue, once
again their formula of blues plus rock
has yielded success. - --
- --:Naf.VaYle

You Like to Swing on a Star," and
numerous other songs into the same sort
of gutsy blues riffs he was summoning
up. "La Panthera" - less billowy and
more substantial than "Green Dolphin
Street" - was a success.
The band was incredibly tight
throughout, one of the most unified
units I have seen. Consisting of George
Cable on piano, Rufus Reid on acoustic
bass, and Eddie Gladden on drums,
they showed a great understanding of
what each musician was to do next,
perhaps as a result of playing with Gor-
don shortly after he began touring
again, 'and accompanying him on
record.
WHEN THEY -stood out and took
solos, though, the success was less
assured. Although Cables is a first-rate
improvisor, Reid was merely enter-
taining in a predictable way, and Glad-
den was not always even entertaining
(although his showcase, the bang-up
solo on the final song, "Backstairs,"
was very humorous and driving).
Cable was featured on his own con-
position, the bouncy "I told You So ".
- Following a Gordon soprano sax soo
that was -more exering chords and

PAYING HOMAGE to his roots in the
be-bopping 1940's, Gordon played
Charley Parker's "Old Folks" in a sim-
ple, effective manner, ever-so-subtly
infusing it with the chords and
phrasings possible almost two decades
after "Old Folks" was written.
Before he played the last song of the
show, "Backstairs," Gordon leaned
over the piano and whispered to Cable
one word: "blues." Indeed. From his
Homecoming album, "Backstairs" was
a sizzling, racing blues that had Gordon
thundering all over his horn.
Here was the through-and-through
hopper: taking flying intervals in a
single breath, quoting circus marches,
"Here Comes the Bride," and the kit-
chen sink amidst a musical hurricane.
And Eddie Gladden reached his high
point, both supporting and when he
played a solo.
Dexter Gordon has played a countless
number of places since he began with
Lionel Hampton in 1940. And from ap-
pearances, it seems that Gordon will be
playinig. for 'years tq. comb. Judging
,from.his.showMonday evening, of here
is any justice;,he will live forever. , ,

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