February 27: Jazz legend Dexter Gordon was born in 1923

dexter gordon 1948
Photo: © Herman Leonard Photography, LLC

The top tenor saxophonist to emerge during the bop era and possessor of his own distinctive sound, Gordon sometimes was long-winded and quoted excessively from other songs, but he created a large body of superior work and could battle nearly anyone successfully at a jam session.
~Scott Yanow (allmusic.com)

Jazz to me is a living music. It’s a music that since its beginning has expressed the feelings, the dreams, hopes, of the people.
~Dexter Gordon

Dexter Gordon concert, Denmark, Aug 5, 1967:

If you can’t play the blues… you might as well hang it up.
~Dexter Gordon

Jazz to me is a living music. It’s a music that since its beginning has expressed the feelings, the dreams, hopes, of the people.
~Dexter Gordon

Montmartre, Copenhagen, 1971:

Wikipedia:

Also known as Long Tall Dexter, Dexter “The Sound” Gordon
Born February 27, 1923
Los Angeles, California, United States
Died April 25, 1990 (aged 67)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
United States
Genres Jazz, swing, bebop, hard bop
Occupations Tenor saxophonist, composer,bandleader, musician, actor
Instruments Tenor saxophone
Years active 1940–1986
Labels Blue Note, Savoy, Columbia
Associated acts Dizzy Gillespie, Gene Ammons,Wardell Gray, Lionel Hampton,Billy Eckstine
Website www.dextergordon.com

Dexter Gordon (February 27, 1923 – April 25, 1990) was an American jazz tenor saxophonist. He was among the earliest tenor players to adapt the bebop musical language of people like Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Bud Powell to the instrument. His studio and live performance career spanned over 40 years.

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.

dexter gordon

Lady Bird (Belgium, 1964):

Dexter Gordon was named a member and Officer of the French Order of Arts and Letters in 1986 by the Ministry of Culture in France. His performance in Round Midnight (Warner Bros, 1986) was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Leading Role and he won a Grammy for Best Soundtrack. Dexter Gordon died on April 25, 1990, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

round midnight

Chan’s song (from the Round Midnight):

Album of the day:

Go (1962)

dexter gordon go

From the first moments when Dexter Gordon sails into the opening song full of brightness and confidence, it is obvious that Go! is going to be one of those albums where everything just seems to come together magically. A stellar quartet including the stylish pianist Sonny Clark, the agile drummer Billy Higgins, and the solid yet flexible bassist Butch Warren are absolutely crucial in making this album work, but it is still Gordon who shines.
~Stacia Proefrock (allmusic.com)

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