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Dexter Gordon aka “Sophisticated Giant” born Feb.27,1923!!


 Dexter Gordon – Saxophone (February 27, 1923 – April 25, 1990)


Dexter Gordon was born on this day February 27 in 1923.Aside from the facts that he was jazz tenor saxophonist and starred in Round Midnight I don’t know much about Dexter’s music, so I figured his birthday is a good day to go exploring..

At Wikipedia I read…..

He was among the earliest tenor players to adapt the bebop musical language of people such as Charlie ParkerDizzy 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”

Now I can write all about Dexter, or you could just go read his biography at Wikipedia – Dexter Gordon

Dexter Gordon - Our Man in ParisI listen to two of Dexter’s albums today. First up was Our Man in Paris released in 1963. The album was recorded in Paris just after he settled there, He arrived in Europe in 1962 and  stayed for 15 years.

Here’s what Tom Jurek at AllMusic says about the album:

 Along with Gordon, pianist Bud Powell and Kenny “Klook” Clarke were living in the City of Lights and were joined by the brilliant French bassman Pierre Michelot. This is a freewheeling bop date with the band working out on such categoric standards as “Scrapple from the Apple,” and “A Night in Tunisia.” In addition, American vernacular tunes such as “Willow Weep for Me” and “Stairway to the Stars” are included. Gordon is at the very top of his game here. His playing is crisp, tight, and full of playful fury. Powell, who at this stage of his life was almost continually plagued by personal problems, never sounded better than he does in this session. His playing is a tad more laid-back here, but is nonetheless full of the brilliant harmonic asides and incendiary single-note runs he is legendary for. Read  More

Gordon’s sax did sound great throughout the album, very lush and full on the ballads and on fire on the upbeat numbers, and I did stop and listen to Bud Powell’s piano several times!!

Dxter Gordon - GoThe second album I listened to was Go, I have listened to and enjoyed this album before. Here’s what Stacia Proefrock writes about the album at AllMusic:

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 bassistButch Warren are absolutely crucial in making this album work, but it is still Gordon who shines.Read More

Dexter Gordon died of kidney failure in Philadelphia, PA, on April 25, 1990, at the age of 67

So Check out Dexter’s Music on any one of the 70 plus albums he released between 1950 and 1986!!

Links (lots of cool stuff – check out the Belgium site that has his sax!)

Here’s Dexter performing and talking about “Cheesecake” Happy Birthday, Dexter wherever you are!!