Spirits of the Songs
Willow Weep For Me mp3 sample clip
Willow Weep for Me was a song that Dexter Gordon recorded in the early 1960ís album Our Man in Paris on Blue Note Records. Bud Powell was the pianist for the session and I always admired his blues-based solo on the track. During the late 1990ís, it was placed on Dexterís Compilation album entitled Ballads. This marketing ploy by Blue Note brought the song into the musical library of a whole new generation of jazz listeners.
Dexter Gordon was one of a number of expatriate jazz musicians in the late 1950ís and into the 1960ís. Many believe that jazz was simply not appreciated the way it should have been in the United States. When musicians went on tour in Europe, they were treated the way rock stars are treated here in the States today. Many didnít want to leave once they were there.
Dexter found a new home in Copenhagen, Denmark. He served as the house band at a local jazz club and toured Western Europe from his Danish home base. Another jazz legend was with him during this time- the bebop innovating drummer Kenny Clarke. Dexter made a series of Blue Note albums during this period. Cover photos have him placed in London and Paris as well.
What makes Our Man in Paris special is that Bud Powell is on that session. Bud, like Dexter, found himself in Europe during the late 1950ís. Powell moved to Paris after New Yorkís jazz scene shifted (or as he would say, Ďchangedí) from the clubs on 52nd street to other locales. Bud, along with Thelonius Monk, was considered the preeminent bebop pianist.
Although Dexter was an innovator as well, he wasnít as old as Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie or Monk. Therefore critics included him in a different generation of musicians. What makes Dexter unique is that he was part of the first bebop band, playing with both Parker and Gillespie at the time. So DG had first hand learned from the early innovator of the music, yet he had the commercial opportunity to play in a more contemporary small group setting during early 1960ís when Alfred Lion wanted to record him for his label.