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Our Man In Paris (1963)

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Kenny Clarke

This 1963 date is titled for Dexter Gordon's living in self-imposed Parisian exile and recording there with two other exptriates and a French native. Along with Gordon, pianist Bud Powell and Kenny "Klook" Clarke were living in the City of Lights and were joined by the brilliant French bassman Pierre Michelot. This is a freewheeling bop date with the band working out on such categoric standards as "Scrapple from the Apple," and "A Night in Tunisia." In addition, American vernacular tunes such as "Willow Weep for Me" and "Stairway to the Stars" are included. Gordon is at the very top of his game here. His playing is crisp, tight, and full of playful fury. Powell, who at this stage of his life was almost continually plagued by personal problems, never sounded better than he does in this session. His playing is a tad more laid-back here, but is nonetheless full of the brilliant harmonic asides and incendiary single-note runs he is legendary for. The rhythm section is close-knit and stop-on-a-dime accurate. ~ Thom Jurek