Personnel: Dexter Gordon (tenor saxophone); Woody Shaw (trumpet, flugelhorn); Ronnie Matthews (piano); Stafford James (bass); Louis Hayes (drums).
Producer: Michael Cuscuna.
Recorded live at the Village Vanguard, New York, New York on December 11 & 12, 1976. Includes liner notes by Robert Palmer.
Digitally remastered by Mark Wilder (CBS Records New York Studios, New York, New York).
A double-disc document of the legendary saxophonist's gig at the Vanguard in 1976 (commemorating his return from a 15-year residence in Copenhagen), HOMECOMING captures Gordon in outstanding form. Well-seasoned and displaying elements of a more adventurous, experimental approach than was evidenced in his earlier recordings, Gordon wildly riffs through 12-bar blues ("Gingerbread Boy," "Backstairs") and creates modern, modal explorations in trumpet player Woody Shaw's two compositions ("Little Red Fantasy," and "In Case You Haven't Heard").
The classic Gordon is here as well, however--the gorgeous, commanding tone, the richly-considered phrases and warm inflection. In the bright, conversational "Fenja" and in his signature number "Body and Soul" (a piece Gordon may be able to lay claim to more than any other saxophonist save Coleman Hawkins) his playing is at once familiar and newly impressive. The live energy is palpable throughout and the combo provide solid, focused support. A varied, meaty and seductive set, HOMECOMING is an excellent summation of the career of one of jazz's best-loved horn players.