Artist: Dexter Gordon
Title: The Complete Prestige Recordings (11 Disc Box Set)
Genre: Jazz-Hard Bop-Bop
The legend of Dexter Gordon is documented extensively throughout countless recordings over the years. The Complete Prestige Recordings is a mammoth 11 CD set in tribute to a jazz giant that left behind an ineradicable mark in the annals of modern jazz music. This cat was so influential and groundbreaking that icons such as Coltrane were fascinated with his style and grace on the saxophone.
Granted 11 discs is a lot of music, yet a career that spanned over 40 years, and one as important as Gordon’s, deserves the attention. The 11 CDs are an amazing journey through essential studio, rare, and live tracks throughout Gordon’s incredible and colorful career. He went from the success of a nomination for an Academy Award to the defeat of spending time in jail (due to a drug addiction), and then turned it all around with successful comebacks until his health began to fail him in the 80s. He passed on in 1990. He most certainly lived life to its fullest and paid the price for letting the evils of stardom run his life early in his career.
I took my time listening to this set over the last two months. I soaked it all up like a bone-dry sponge. Gordon was an innovator and a true musical genius, laying a foundation that many musicians would build upon for many years to come. His influence is still a force today. If you listen carefully to his incredible virtuosity and the many examples of the complex melodies he created, the overwhelming force of his body of work will leave a lasting impression upon you. Besides the enormity of this collection, you will also have the opportunity to read about the man’s life in a marvelously detailed and illustrated booklet. It gives you sense of closure while making your way through this comprehensive set.
Words can hardly elucidate how important this boxed set is in reference to history. Musicians and listeners alike will be enjoying this music for generations to come.
February 16, 2005