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Go! (1962)

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Billy Higgins

From the first moments when Dexter Gordon sails into the opening song full of brightness and confidence, it is obvious that Go! is going to be one of those albums where everything just seems to come together magically. A stellar quartet including the stylish pianist Sonny Clark, the agile drummer Billy Higgins, and the solid yet flexible bassist Butch Warren are absolutely crucial in making this album work, but it is still Gordon who shines. Whether he is dropping quotes into "Three O'Clock in the Morning" or running around with spritely bop phrases in "Cheese Cake," the album pops and crackles with energy and exuberance. Beautiful ballads like "I Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry" metamorphosize that energy into emotion and passion, but you can still see it there nonetheless. Gordon had many high points in his five decade-long career, but this is certainly the peak of it all. ~ Stacia Proefrock