Gone but not forgotten, the late and great tenor sax man Dexter Gordon makes a comeback of sorts in a reissue of a 1955 Bethlehem Records classic recording of the Dexter Gordon Quartet's Daddy Plays The Horn. This particular album was out of print and unavailable for many years. It is being reissued with newly remastered sound, original and supplemental liner notes and a new listing of the tracks on the packaging, which corrected a mistake on the original issue. The sound quality is very good and the music is as fresh today as it was when originally recorded.
Besides Gordon, the Dexter Gordon Quartet was made up of several respected sidemen of the west coast jazz scene. They were piano man Kenny Drew, bassist Leroy Vinnegar and drummer Larry Marable. They complimented each other and together they brought out the best of Gordon on this CD. Daddy Plays The Horn contains two original Gordon compositions, the title cut "Daddy Plays The Horn" and "Number Four," curiously enough is track number four. There is also a Charlie Parker standard "Confirmation" as well as three other standards, "Darn That Dream," "Autumn In New York" and "You Can Depend On Me".
The music is classic cool jazz and in a medium tempo pace. Gordon does some fiery sax playing on such numbers as "Daddy Plays The Horn" and on the fast pace "You Can Depend On Me." His solo endeavors on these tracks seem to capture the pure emotion and feelings that may have been a reflection on some of the troubled experiences Gordon was going through at this time in his life. "Autumn In New York," my favorite track, is a lovely slow and mellow ballad in which you can hear Gordon pouring out his soul through that sax. I play this often, especially when I'm all wound up and just want to relax. "Darn That Dream" is the other mellow number providing some of Gordon's best improvisations and playing time. Indeed a heartfelt dose of melodies. "You Can Depend On Me" is one track that really swings with both Gordon and Drew sharing solo riffs that indicate that these guys were having fun.
For those jazz lovers that can appreciate the distinguished sounds of a keen sax and the accompaniment of a fine rhythm section, this Dexter Gordon Quartet recording will more than please your taste. For those unfamiliar with Gordon's musical finesse and the breadth of his talent, Daddy Plays The Horn is the perfect CD to get acquainted with one of the great tenor sax men in jazz history. A musical treasure deserving of a place in one's jazz music collection.