Tag Archives: Three O’Clock In The Morning

Transcribed: The Go! Album (Part 6 of 6) Dexter Gordon – Three O’Clock In the Morning

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It’s time to wrap this series up and put a bow on it. Rounding out Dexter Gordon’s GO! album is “Three O’Clock In The Morning.” The song was written by Spanish-Argentinian composer Julián Robledo in 1919 and was popularized in the United States by Paul Whiteman in 1922. The song has been recorded numerous times by artists ranging from Harry James to Lou Rawls (my 2nd favorite version next to Dexter’s).  Although the song was originally written as a waltz in three-four time, nowadays it’s typically played in four-four.

In Dexter’s recording, it begins with the piano quoting the chimes of London’s Big Ben clock. Many listeners, myself included, would think this is a nod to the intro of “If I Were A Bell” from Miles Davis’ Relaxin’ With The Miles Davis Quintet album (recorded 1956, released 1958). Both recordings use the Big Ben motif, but the 1922 Paul Whiteman recording also does.

When Dexter enters with the melody, the rhythm section is playing in two. On the second half of the tune, the rhythm section switches to playing in four and they stay there through until Dexter restates the second half of the melody at the end.

I don’t have a lot to say about Dexter’s solo. It is a textbook example of his playing. There are musical quotes, strong bebop vocabulary, he’s playing behind the beat, and most of the notes are tongued.

I hope you have enjoyed this series on Dexter Gordon’s GO! album. I learned and then wrote out these solos a few years ago. It’s been nice to revisit them and to share them with you.

Currently, I am learning John Coltrane’s solo on “Tenor Madness.” I’m in the early stages of that and it will be a while before I write it down.

In other news, a new EP titled shä brē el by Las Vegas artist Sabriel (The title is her name spelled phonetically.) is set for release next week. I played tenor saxophone on it and wrote the horn arrangement for the song “Garden.” It’s definitely worth a listen (or many!).