These concerts capture tenor sax legend Dexter Gordon’s performances in Holland (1964), Switzerland (1963) and Belgium (1964). Gordon was living in Europe at a time when many American were seeking steady work across the pond.
The Holland concert was filmed at a club and shows Gordon arriving, and then taking off his jacket from behind the bar. He walks to the stage with a cigarette in his mouth and utters a poetic oration to the audience as a preamble to the forthcoming piece and jazz classic, "A Night in Tunisia." Otherwise, Gordon was a big man who possessed a deep baritone voice which is somewhat analogous to his burly and power-packed tenor sax lines.
During the film, Gordon’s signature sound and mode of attack speak volumes alongside band-mates, pianist Kenny Drew and drummer Art Taylor among other jazz luminaries. His soul-drenched bop notes slip and slide into resonating themes via sweet accents that often parallel a vocalist’s mode of delivery. In addition, the black and white footage features shots of very attentive and focused attendees. And with his Switzerland performance at a concert hall, Gordon and his band-mates are dressed in suits and ties, to perhaps underscore the band’s artistic professionalism, and bluesy, first class treatment of "You’ve Changed."
Other than Coleman Hawkins ground-breaking version, few other saxophonists can impart the breadth and deep-rooted emotional aspects, as Gordon does on "Body and Soul." Watching the saxophonist in action is akin to a state of jazz bliss. He swings hard via a commanding presence, but could also bring someone to tears when performing a ballad. It’s priceless footage that is worth its weight in gold.