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Squirrel: Live at Montmartre (1967)

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Dexter Gordon

The music on these two Blue Note sets was previously unissued. Dexter Gordon in 1967 was about halfway through his long period of living in Europe. His only other significant recording of the year resulted in several sets put out by Black Lion called the Montmartre Collection, recorded about a month after this previously unreleased Montmartre appearance put out by Blue Note in 1997. With the assistance of pianist Kenny Drew, bassist Bo Stief, and drummer Art Taylor, the great Dexter really stretches out on four numbers; "You've Changed," at 12:25, is the briefest, while "Cheese Cake" is over 20 minutes long. The recording quality is decent, if not flawless, but Gordon's playing is often quite passionate. He seems inspired by Art Taylor, and their interplay on the intense "Sonnymoon for Two" is sometimes reminiscent of John Coltrane and Elvin Jones on "Chasin' the Trane" from the Village Vanguard. Although not essential (Dexter Gordon recorded many brilliant dates during the 1960s and '70s), this set finds the tenor in excellent form. ~ Scott Yanow