Personnel: Dexter Gordon (tenor saxophone); Sonny Clarke (piano); Butch Warren (bass); Billy Higgins (drums).
Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on August 29, 1962. Includes liner notes by Barbara Long.
Like his other Blue Note dates of the period, Dexter Gordon's A SWINGIN' AFFAIR captures the saxophonist in his prime. Recorded a mere two days after his popular GO! with the same quartet, the album features Gordon's supple, smooth lines radiating with brilliance over the gentle finesse of Sonny Clark (piano), Butch Warren (bass) and Billy Higgins (drums). His improvisations are full of life, always with a touch of the blues, and constantly swinging. The result is a clear portrait of a jazz master in his element.
Gordon's far-off cry of "Soy Califa" kicks off the opener as Higgins' calypso bounce supports the leader's cheerful melody. Billie Holiday's classic "Don't Explain" is given a slow, smoky atmosphere where Gordon's velvety tones hang in the air like a whispering fog. The rhumba/swing combination of the standard "You Stepped Out Of A Dream" is a peppy jaunt and a standout performance. Bassist Warren's "The Backbone" starts with a bluesy bass and tenor melody that gives way to a full-out swinging jam. Finally, the classic ballad "Until The Real Thing Comes Along" provides an easy change of pace before the ending romp of Gordon's own "McSplivens."