A tremendous European meeting of tenorist Dexter Gordon
and trombonist Slide Hampton – brought together in this impeccable sextet session for MPS – a real standout in the label's straight jazz catalog over the years! By the time of the set, Gordon
had been working heavily in Europe, especially Copenhagen – a locale where he was given ample freedom to stretch out and really explore his tone and phrasing. Hampton had also kicked around the continent a fair bit too, but in a tighter format, doing arrangements for others and working in bigger groups – and it's actually his careful touch that really helps shape the sound of the set – by bringing Gordon
's groove into a focus more strongly than before, and reminding us that Dex was a great group player when he wanted to be! The frontline features Gordon
's tenor, Hampton's trombone, and the trumpet of Dizzy Reece – often stating the heads in a fluidly soulful way, then breaking out nicely with individual voices – very much in the best Blue Note mode. Rhythm is by the trio of Kenny Drew on piano, Art Taylor on drums, and Niels Henning Orsted Pedersen on bass – and titles include 3 excellent originals by Hampton – "A New Thing", "My Blues", and "A Day In Vienna" – plus a wicked almost-Lee Morgan-esque take on "What's New", and versions of "Shadow Of Your Smile" and "You Don't Know What Love Is".
(US BASF pressing in gatefold cover, with an unglued seam.)