Yet Another Dexter Gordon compilation? Yes, this one commemorates what would have been the 80th birthday of the man, and this collection (chosen by M. Cuscuna and Dexter’s wife Maxine) presents a choice cross-section from his classic early 1960s Blue Note recordings. Sure, the Purist will say, "why buy this instead of the original albums - which if you don’t have, you must be some kind of dilettante" - but with a discography of Gordon’s size, the neophyte might be a tad intimidated. "Sure, this Gordon character was in a couple of movies and he was one of the cats who transferred Charlie Parker’s approach to the tenor, but.... WHICH ALBUM? Oh, the choices one must make.... " With this nifty 2-CD set, it eliminates all that messy guesswork, as well as being a nice time capsule of the "mainstream" side of the classic 60s Blue Note equation. While DG didn’t break any new ground like many of his fellow Note-ers (McLean, Hill, Hutcherson, Rivers, etc.), he DID play some of the finest mainstream, meat ‘n’ spuds, cool-cat swinging, shiny, hard-toned, heartfelt but never sappy, intelligent but never pedantic, hard-bop tenor saxophoning that was laid down, ever. As if you needed a bonus, you get contribs by fellow BN aces Horace Parlan (they did make ‘em good in Pittsburgh, didn’t they?), the immortal Billy Higgins, Freddie Hubbard and others. So if you’re new to The Dex, the Blue Note school of hard bop or just haven’t gotten around to replacing all your old DG vinyl, The Classic Blue Note Recordings is, I dare say, a primo investment.