There is a rule. If the band is having a good time, the audience will be having a good time. We had a great time, we did. Vasilis, Ross, Simon and Steve were eager to get back to music they had not played for some time. Their eagerness was increased by a wait for three of them on the cursed A12, but they were all daisy fresh and ready to rock.
They made us happy right away with Gordon’s “Evergreenish”. We got our first taste of wonderful musicianship from all four, and the intense listening among them was very visible to us.
We were treated to lots of styles. For example, the first set ended with Gordon’s “Society Red”, which was done as a funky tune. As an aside, I have always wondered about the current use of the word “funk”, as as far as I can find out, it originally described the smell of a New Orleans bordello. Anyway, the tune was great fun.
We had some beautiful ballads. Donald Byrd’s “Tanya” in the second set was one example, Vasilis’s tone was just right. Our Steve Jordan has a comment on it in his set list below.
Ross would be a treat to a deaf person. His whole body moves with the music whether soloing or as an accompanist. He is one of two musicians able to use all three pedals – soft, sustenuto and sustain – to great effect. His superb musicianship was unhampered by a piano string breaking in the second half, causing havoc to Bb two octaves above middle C.
Steve and Simon were grinning from ear to ear during many of the tunes, as their colleagues produced new riffs and quotes. Both of them have “big ears” which helps; that is to say they listen like crazy.
That’s enough. Really great gig. Another to follow in less than a week’s time, with Pete Oxley’s “Flight of Hand”. It will be a gas. Do join us.
DEXTERITY: THE MUSIC OF DEXTER GORDON by VASILIS XENOPOULOS QUARTET SETLIST, FLEECE JAZZ, 26/10/22
Vasilis Xenopoulis, Tenor Sax; Ross Stanley, Piano; Simon Thorpe, Bass; Steve Brown, Drums.
- Evergreenish (Dexter Gordon) from the 1970 album, The Jumpin’ Blues
- Hanky Panky (Dexter Gordon) from album Clubhouse
- Soy Califa (Dexter Gordon) from album A Swingin’ Affair. Exuberant vocal at beginning from Simon Thorpe.
- I’m A Fool To Want You (Joel Herron/Frank Sinatra/Jack Wolf) from album Clubhouse. Also covered by Billie Holliday
- Society Red from 1961 album Doin’ Alright (Dexter Gordon). Certainly has a funky groove, yet funk wasn’t heard until the mid ‘60s when James Brown created Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag
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- It’s You or No One (Sammy Cahn/Jule Styne) from the live album of the same name, recorded in 1964 at Jazzhus Montmartre in Copenhagen. DG lived in Denmark and often performed at the Montmartre
- Tanya (Donald Byrd) from the 1964 album One Flight Up. There was indeed a similarity to Coltrane’s style in this rendition, although DG was an influence on Coltrane rather than the other way round.
- Montmartre (Dexter Gordon) from the album The Tower of Power. Performed with a Latin Jazz tempo. Did anyone else hear “Windmills of my Mind” in there?
- Tivoli (Dexter Gordon) from the 1975 album More Than You Know. A jazz waltz inspired by Tivoli gardens in Copenhagen.
10. Second Balcony Jump (Billy Eckstine) from the 1962 album, Go!
Encore: If You Could See Me Now (Tadd Dameron/ Carl Sigman) from the 1970 album, The Jumpin’ Blues