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Gordon, Dexter

Biography

Dexter Gordon (February 27, 1923 – April 25, 1990) was an American jazz tenor saxophonist and an Academy Award-nominated actor (Round Midnight, Warner Bros, 1986). He is regarded as one of the first and most important musicians to adapt the bebop musical language of people like Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Bud Powell to the tenor saxophone. His studio and live performance career were both extensive and multifaceted, spanning over 50 years in recorded jazz history. Gordon's height was 6 feet 6 inches (198 cm), so he was also known as "Long Tall Dexter" and "Sophisticated Giant". He played a Conn 10M 'Ladyface' tenor until it was stolen in a Paris airport in 1961. He then switched over to a Selmer Mark VI. His saxophone was fitted with an Otto Link metal mouthpiece, which can be seen in various photos. In 1985, Dexter Gordon was named a member and Officer of the French Order of Arts and Letters by the Ministry of Culture in France, and was nominated for an Academy Award in 1986. He died on April 25, 1990, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.




Recordings

Gordon, Dexter: Atlanta Georgia May 5, 1981

This is the first-time release of a live session with the Dexter Gordon quartet from a club in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1981. There are seven tunes and 79 minutes of playing time on the CD. Dexter Gordon is accompanied by his regular superstar rhythm section of Kirk Lightsey, Rufus Reid and Eddie Gladden. The repertoire consists of both jazz standards, ballads and original compositions by Gordon and pianist George Cables. The band is clearly inspired by the enthusiasm of the audience at E.J.’s in Atlanta, who came to see their hero, Dexter Gordon – one of the most important modern jazz saxophonists of all time. The rhythm section also plays brilliantly and is given plenty of playing time on these long numbers. As pianist Kirk Lightsey said: ”Being with Dexter Gordon was probably the greatest lesson – one to one – that I’ve had in playing jazz.” Sit back and enjoy one of the best modern tenor sax players – and rhythm sections – in modern jazz. Particular high points on the CD are ”Tangerine” and the wailing ”Jumpin’ Blues”.