Dexter Gordon’s Clubhouse Blue Note Tone Poet Reissue Is, As Usual, Great

Dexter Gordon led the Clubhouse session May 27,1965 with Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, Barry Harris on piano, Bob Cranshaw on bass, and Billy Higgins on drums. Two days later Gordon recorded Gettin’ Around, trading Freddie Hubbard for Bobby Hutcherson on vibes but otherwise maintaining the same lineup. However, until 1979 the former didn’t see the light of day. What happened?

Blue Note originally shelved releasing the Clubhouse session in favor of the superior Gettin’ Around (I enjoy both, but by a hair prefer the latter). In 1979 Michael Cuscuna discovered Clubhouse while combing through the vaults for the Liberty/United Artists/Blue Note LT series (an effort which also turned up unreleased albums by Wayne Shorter, Grant Green, Lee Morgan, Art Blakey, Donald Byrd, Blue Mitchell, and many others). Liberty/UA released Clubhouse with a hideous album cover that took the title literally to the point where it made no sense, and that was that.

Musically, Clubhouse shows Dexter playing in a more relaxed, thoughtful manner (and not just on the ballads) than his earlier Blue Note recordings (see my review of Blue Note’s recent Doin’ Allright reissue, showing that his playing definitely evolved following his move to Paris. There’s an expressive cover of Frank Sinatra’s “I’m A Fool To Want You,” a rendition of Ben Tucker’s “Devillette,” and a version of Rudy Stevenson’s swinging jazz blues “Lady Iris B.” More interesting here, however, are Gordon’s original compositions, of which there are three, more than on most of his albums. The upbeat, straightforward side openers “Hanky Panky” and “Clubhouse” are enjoyable listens (so far, I haven’t come across any terrible, unlistenable Dexter Gordon recordings) and the ballad “Jodi” has extremely melodic soloing from Gordon, Hubbard, and Harris. Clubhouse makes for an enjoyable listen for anyone other than those with a stupid hatred for jazz (or music in general).

While I don’t have anything to compare, this reissue’s sound is great as is the rest of the Tone Poet series, albeit a bit lacking in bass compared to the others I’ve heard (Wayne Shorter’s Etcetera and Sam Rivers’ Contours). However, that slight lack of bass is probably what’s on the tape (given that the sonic goal of the series is to enhance Rudy Van Gelder’s work but not change it, I can’t imagine Kevin Gray and Joe Harley messing around with the tape that much. RTI’s 180g pressing quality, as usual, is top-notch. The vinyl is thick, flat, and silent, securing the plant’s status as the best 180g pressing facility in the world. The laminated Stoughton tip-on gatefold with recreated artwork and session photos (I don’t think all of the photos inside are from this particular session, but I could be wrong) is also of the highest quality. My only gripe with it is that the back cover’s header type is placed too close to the top, but maybe that was intentional. All in all, this reissue is another win for the Tone Poet series, which is set to continue for the foreseeable future.

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Glotz's picture

Another utterly well-written review! Kudos to you, Malachi.

Robin Landseadel's picture


I don't know if you've heard the recordings Dexter Gordon made for the Danish Steeplechase label, those are worth hunting down in original pressings [I recall some wonky US reissues]. Some of Dexter's best work, really great sound, really great rhythm section.

Managed to see Dexter Gordon twice, once in a small club, once in a big theater on the Claremont College campus, where his band alternated with the Count Basie Orchestra. Basie was still alive.

When I was your age I was obsessed with classical music, didn't develop a love for jazz to the same degree until I was in my twenties. The two genres have a meeting place, I'm sure you'll find it before too long.

Meanwhile, check this out:

firedog's picture

I have the RVG remaster for CD from the mid 2000's - and it is also bass shy, so yeah that's probably what's on the tape. Qobuz has it streaming in hi-res (the Blue Note "Classics" series), with THAT cover - I'd never seen it before. And yes, it is truly lame.

Egbert Souse's picture

I'm sure Dexter would be just ecstatic to know that a 13 year old boy thinks his playing is "more relaxed and thoughtful" on this album. Not sure what albums you were listening to, but his playing sounds pretty "relaxed and thoughtful" on Gettin' Around.

Not sure why anyone with a "stupid hatred for jazz (or music in general)" would listen to the album. That comment should have received a red line through it by your alleged editor.

Michael Fremer's picture
What a bitter, pathetic comment. But then when someone comes to AnalogPlanet and chooses the dreaded (and dying) CD emblem as an image, it makes complete sense.
Egbert Souse's picture

If you hate CDs so much, then why do you have thousands of them? And "it's part of my job" isn't an answer. You have shelves and shelves of them, in your dungeon lair and in your garage. And for an allegedly "dying" medium, they still outsell overpriced, surface noise-ridden vinyl by the millions.

mraudioguru's picture

...really in the wrong place dude.

bkinthebk's picture

Souse is a WC Fields character in a movie called The Bank Dick. He’s a henpecked troll of a man who hates children. It seems the Dick just can’t help himself here.

Can’t get facts straight either. The kid said “Clubhouse shows Dexter playing in a more relaxed, thoughtful manner than his earlier Blue Note recordings” and you took issue by saying Gettin Around was pretty relaxed (and therefore what the hell does a 13 year old know?). Well, he knows that Clubhouse was recorded BEFORE Gettin Around. Perhaps The Dick needs a red line through his own flaccid comments.

Sheesh, criticize the kid’s ideas if you want to, but old age holds no monopoly on knowledge or wisdom.

It’s not your fault your daddy didn’t love you. Now move along.

Malachi, I’d love to hear your thoughts on Black Fire. I’ve been through two off center, warped pressings already (same with Face to Face). Tough for an album with a piano at its heart. But from what I did hear, Roy Haynes on drums steals the show.

Egbert Souse's picture

Who cares when Gettin' Around was recorded, either before or after Clubhouse. For a 13 year old kid to say the playing on any Dexter Gordon album is "more relaxed and thoughtful" than on one of the other recordings is completely asinine. What does a 13 year old kid know about "thoughtful" sax playing? And how does he judge exactly which recording has more "thoughtful" playing?

Must be pathetic to be you, getting your record recommendations from 13 year old boys.

Tom L's picture

...are smarter and more perceptive than people many times their age.
Thanks for proving it!
I may disagree with Malachi about Kanye, but he has proven to have a deep well of knowledge about many genres of music and I really enjoy his bluntly expressed opinions.
I'm 65, and I learned long ago that wisdom frequently does not correlate with chronological age.

Egbert Souse's picture

Or superficial knowledge gleaned from Google? I don't think you know shit from shinola, gramps. Well, if you're foolish enough to get your record recommendations from an obnoxious, annoying 13 year old brat, that's your business. Enjoy your rap records! Do you twerk to them in the old age home?

Tom L's picture

So you're just a troll, sorry I mistook you for someone with a brain.
It won't happen again.

Egbert Souse's picture

Have you no decency, sir?

bkinthebk's picture

Someone hurt you. Shame on them.

Egbert Souse's picture

I would challenge you to a battle of wits, but I see you are unarmed.

Tom L's picture

Trolls gotta troll...

Michael Fremer's picture
He got his "witty" unoriginal comment from Google:
Egbert Souse's picture

Unlike you I am quite literate, and have of course read that quote before. I don't search out my "witty" quotes on Google, like you obviously do.

Lazer's picture

That’s the oldest, lamest, line I’ve heard since middle school. You clearly have too high of an opinion of yourself....and your intelligence. Maybe next you will say “I know you are but what am I.” Your a child dude....

Egbert Souse's picture

I think you meant "you're a child." I suggest you brush up on your grammar skills before you call someone else lame...dude.

Lazer's picture

You did exactly as I predicted. Correcting grammar and saying “I know you are but what am I.” Are you capable of anything like a intelligent, logical response? Remember, ad hominem attacks are illogical by definition.

kruhlin's picture

I’ve never met Mr. Gordon but I suspect that he wouldn’t be opposed to any generation listening to and thoughtfully commenting on his music – whether you agree with the review or not. When I was Mr. Malachi’s age, I actually did have a stupid hatred of jazz. I listened to it because I wanted to understand the draw – and finally, I “got it.” Malachi’s way ahead of me at his age and I enjoy his perspective. Label me a bit slow, but at least I’m not bitter…

GruvyWade's picture

I enjoy Malachi's reviews. So he has a bit of Lester Bangs in him. I'm glad that he's not being censored.

tunksey99's picture

Hi , I have the original vinyl pressing of Clubhouse and it is pretty awful. I purchased the new Tone Poet reissue and it sounds great , the original pressing sounds like it is covered in treacle compared to the new reissue . The new Tone Poet series is generally great although my Wayne Shorter record does have a few minor pressing issues.

Bluejimbop's picture

I don’t think Mr. Souse’s initial comments warranted him getting blasted into the next county. They weren’t necessarily personal attacks and I think contain at least a kernel of truth.
I’m glad Malachi is here and his thoughts and feelings are as valid as the next person’s. But what’s next? Turning him loose on “September Song”? Some things are just absurd at face value.

Tom L's picture

I think Malachi's take on "September Song" would be just as valid as yours or mine. Coming from a different perspective, but just as valid. I don't know if you've noticed, but he's quite perceptive.

Egbert Souse's picture

Yes I believe it would quite interesting! With his "deep well of knowledge" and his decades of life experience, he could really drill down on the deep meaning of the song! Wouldn't it be wonderful! Personally, I'm hoping Malachi will weigh in on the differences between Pierre Boulez and Robert Craft conducting the works of Varese!

rascal7's picture

How can a 13 year old kid with next to no life experience be taken seriously? At 62 I've been listening to jazz music all my life and I would not feel qualified reviewing anything. There's nothing like having your intelligence insulted by a 13 year old.

Egbert Souse's picture

was when he said, in his review of Coltrane's "lost" album, that they were just "going through the motions" on some tracks. As if a 13 year old kid is capable of judging when players of the caliber of Coltrane are "going through the motions."
So ridiculous.

Michael Fremer's picture
You’d have written the same dumb shit. Mozart composed his first symphony at age 8. I leave up your comments for their pure humiliation factor. You are a bitter sad person.
Egbert Souse's picture

So you're admitting that Malachi wrote "dumb shit" in his review. That's very honest of you.

Michael Fremer's picture
YOU wrote "dumb shit", not Malachi, whose Coltrane review was spot on while the grovelling adults in the room wrote that it was such a great find. One nearly 70 year old Coltrane fan wrote me "Damn, that's what I would have written".
Egbert Souse's picture

The real "dumb shit" was you comparing your little imp to Mozart. Bwahaha.

Michael Fremer's picture
I did not compare Malachi to Mozart. My point had to do with age...but I do t expect you to understand...
Lazer's picture

But I come here to relax and rejoice in our love of music especially on vinyl. Part of me wishes you would block these ignorant trolls who for some reason get a thrill pissing us all off.

Egbert Souse's picture

I thought you came here to insert your nose into Fremer's fundament.

Hajidub's picture

That's it.

MalachiLui's picture

this is actually like the smartest comment here tbh

jon9091's picture

The 13 year old is the most mature person here.

Great review.

Egbert Souse's picture

I'm guessing you haven't seen some of his caustic, obnoxious interactions with people online. I believe he was even kicked off of the Steve Hoffman forums for his bad behavior. Ignoramus.

jon9091's picture

for proving my point for me, Chief.

Egbert Souse's picture

That you're ignorant? Great. Don't see you denying his obnoxious behavior.

jon9091's picture

What I see is YOUR obnoxious behavior. You sound like a pathetic, bitter person. The fact that your target of condescension and hateful trolling is a 13 year old kid speaks volumes about you.
So STFU, and save your hot air for your blow up doll.

Egbert Souse's picture

go and have a cry in the corner, douchebag. So emotional over an obnoxious kid? Don't get your panties so tied up in a knot over it. Loser.

Tom L's picture

...the guy who ripped Malachi for being too young, then ripped me for being too old. Impeccable logic!
What a friendly, happy person you must be.

e.s.'s picture

...should be considered a badge of honor. I'm surprised anyone from that place would waste precious time responding to a jazz review on this site when they could be responding to all the redundant classic rock threads or updating everyone about when their Amazon order shipped... while simultaneously bemoaning the death of the local record store.

Bluejimbop's picture

That devolved in a hurry.

joevb3's picture

Sorry I read all this crap....thanks for turning what is usually a relaxing and interesting read on a Saturday morning into the same angry bullshit that's everywhere else. Why don't you guys go over to Twitter to work out your issues and let the rest of us enjoy this.

doak's picture

Won't spoil my day, but didn't do anything good for coffee time.

As a retired educator and former Jr. High/Middle School teacher I too concur with those who pointed out the fallacy of ignoring or discounting anything a young person is saying due to their age - huge mistake.

Egbert Souse's picture

The rat's nest of fawning sycophants on this site is just hilarious. Please check the mirror and wipe that brown stuff off of your noses.

Such a bunch of hypocrites too. The "personal attacks" started on me after my less than enthusiastic response to the reviews of an ill-informed child. The only kind of response that is welcome here is fawning, overenthusiastic, hyperbolic praise.

Hey, since the 13 year old kid doesn't review classical, maybe Fremer will find a 5 year old to do it. I'm sure you all will be just ecstatic!

I also have to wonder if Fremer is having a negative influence on the kid's behavior. He was annoying when first presented, but seems to have gone into hyperdrive obnoxious mode since he's been hanging out with Fremer. Booted from Hoffman forums for bad behavior. People on his YouTube channel discussing when his channel will be banned for using profanities. Oh, no, but it's all just me! He's a wonderful little child! Bwahahahahahaha.