Personnel: Dexter Gordon (tenor saxophone); Kirk Lightsey (piano); Rufus Reid (bass); Eddie Gladden (drums).
Recorded live at E.J.'s, Atlanta, Georgia on May 5, 1981. Includes liner notes by William Hogeland.
BACKSTAIRS was recorded live at the renowned Atlanta club E.J.'s shortly before it's closing. It finds a latter-day Gordon burning the house down with the aid of frequent cohorts like Eddie Gladden and Rufus Reid. Much of the material on these two discs had been recorded in various other settings by Gordon. A mix of standards and originals (by Gordon and George Cables), BACKSTAIRS presents Gordon doing what he did best, transforming the bop language he helped create into something simultaneously familiar and inventive. On tunes like "It's You or No One" and "Tanya," the legendary tenorman is at his most aggressive, spraying out reedy, Coltrane-like lines over Kirk Lightsey's urgent, clanging piano. He shows off his emotive, lyrical side on ballads such as "As Time Goes By" and "Skylark." The energy of live performance translates well on BACKSTAIRS, giving listeners a strong dose of Gordon at his most fiery.