The excitement Dexter Gordon generated during his triumphal 1976 "return" to the American jazz scene was absent during the annual visits home that the expatriate tenor giant made during the late Sixties and early Seventies. With little fanfare, Gordon would play a few club engagements and stop off in the studios for Prestige. The results were inspired intimations of things to come for those who heard the recordings, and 1970's The Panther! is no exception. The presence of a top-notch rhythm section, built around the exceptional piano of Tommy Flanagan, is recommendation enough; but Gordon ensures a classic performance by choosing a program of strong material, including three originals, the tenor litmus-test "Body and Soul," and a masterful reading of "The Christmas Song."