Tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon was a leading figure in bebop, drawing upon the styles of both of Count Basie’s tenor players, Lester Young and Herschel Evans, to forge his own style in the bebop idiom. His composition Bikini exhibits an interesting and unique hybrid form.
Listen attentively to Bikini performed by Dexter Gordon, tenor saxophone (ts); Jimmy Bunn, piano (p); Red Callender, bass (b); and Chuck Thompson, drums (d); and address the following questions:
- The order of solos in this piece is: Gordon, Bunn, Callender, and Thompson (at end). Provide counter numbers for the beginnings and ends of all four solos.
- Compare and contrast the solo styles, and describe them. Listen to how they phrase or create musical lines over the chord changes. Try to include some detail.
- How many choruses does each of them take? Note: This piece is a 44-bar hybrid AABA song form in which each A section is a 12-bar blues chord progression, while the B section (the bridge) is a standard 8-bar section. The first chorus is 00:11 to 01:00.
- What is your impression of this piece? How do these bebop soloists differ from the swing soloists that you have heard? Does the bebop ensemble treat or arrange the melody differently from the swing big band arrangements (of melody) that you have heard? If so, how?
- Generally speaking, this band would have performed for what type of audience?