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Dexter Gordon always played with a melancholy smile in his sound. The joy he felt in playing his tenor saxophone was apparent, as was his huge tone and playful conception.
At the time that he recorded Doin’ All Right, his very first Blue Note album, Dex had a reason to be smiling. Gordon was making a major comeback after spending several years in prison on a narcotics conviction. After being one of the primary pacesetters among tenors during the bebop era, Dex had been largely forgotten in the 1950s due to several other periods of involuntary incarceration.
But after the release of this 1961 album with the young trumpet sensation Freddie Hubbard and the Horace Parlan Trio, Dexter was here to stay. Just listen to him caressing “You’ve Changed,” introducing “Society Red” (which 15 years later would be used in his famous film Round Midnight) and sounding jubilant on “I Was Doing All Right.” Dexter Gordon was feeling joyful, feeling healthy and content to let every note tell the story. Doin’ All Right is Dexter Gordon creating music for the ages!
Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on May 6, 1961