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Dexter Gordon

Dexter Gordon had such a colorful and eventful life (with three separate comebacks) that his story would make a great Hollywood movie. 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. His first important gig was with Lionel Hampton (1940-1943) although, due to Illinois Jacquet also being in the sax section, Gordon did not get any solos. In 1943, he did get to stretch out on a recording session with Nat King Cole. Short stints with Lee Young, the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra, and Louis Armstrong's big band preceded his move to New York in December 1944 and becoming part of Billy Eckstine's Orchestra, trading off with Gene Ammons on Eckstine's recording of "Blowin' the Blues Away." Gordon recorded with Dizzy Gillespie ("Blue 'N' Boogie") and as a leader for Savoy before returning to Los Angeles in the summer of 1946. He was a major part of the Central Avenue scene, trading off with Wardell Gray and Teddy Edwards in many legendary tenor battles; studio recordings of "The Chase" and "The Duel" helped to document the atmosphere of the period.

After 1952, drug problems resulted in some jail time and periods of inactivity during the '50s (although Gordon did record two albums in 1955). By 1960, he was recovered and soon he was recording a consistently rewarding series of dates for Blue Note. Just when he was regaining his former popularity, in 1962 Gordon moved to Europe where he would stay until 1976. While on the continent, he was in peak form and Gordon's many SteepleChase recordings rank with the finest work of his career. Gordon did return to the U.S. on an occasional basis, recording in 1965, 1969-1970, and 1972, but he was to an extent forgotten in his native land. It was therefore a major surprise that his return in 1976 was treated as a major media event. A great deal of interest was suddenly shown in the living legend with long lines of people waiting at clubs in order to see him. Gordon was signed to Columbia and remained a popular figure until his gradually worsening health made him semi-active by the early '80s. His third comeback occurred when he was picked to star in the motion picture 'Round Midnight. Gordon's acting was quite realistic and touching. He was nominated for an Academy Award, four years before his death after a very full life. Most of Dexter Gordon's recordings for Savoy, Dial, Bethlehem, Dootone, Jazzland, Blue Note, SteepleChase, Black Lion, Prestige, Columbia, Who's Who, Chiaroscuro, and Elektra Musician are currently available. ~ Scott Yanow
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: The Chronological 1943-1947

1. I've Found A New Baby

2. Rosetta

3. Sweet Lorraine

4. I Blowed And Gone

5. Blow Mr. Dexter

6. Dexter's Deck

7. Dexter's Cuttin' Out

8. Dexter's Minor Mad

9. Long Tall Dexter

10. Dexter Rides Again

11. I Can't Escape From You

12. Dexter Digs In

13. Mischievous Lady

14. Lullaby In Rythm

15. The Chase Part 1

16. The Chase Part 2

17. Chromatic Aberration

18. Talk Of The Town

19. Bikini

20. Ghost Of A Chance

21. Sweet And Lovely

x

Track List: Manhattan Symphonie

1. As Time Goes By

2. Moment's Notice

3. Tanya

4. I Told You So

5. Body And Soul

6. Ltd

7. Ruby, My Dear

8. Secret Love

x

Track List: Homecoming, Live At The Village Vanguard (Live)

x

Track List: Both Sides Of Midnight

1. Devilette

2. For All We Know

3. Doxy

4. Sonnymoon For Two

x

Track List: Gettin' Around

1. Manha de Carnaval

2. Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me)

3. Heartaches

4. Shiny Stockings

5. Everybody's Somebody's Fool

6. Le Coiffeur

7. Very Saxily Yours

8. Flick Of A Trick

x

Track List: One Flight Up

1. Tanya

2. Coppin' The Haven

3. Darn That Dream

4. Kong Neptune

x

Track List: Our Man In Paris

1. Scrapple From The Apple

2. Willow Weep For Me

3. Broadway

4. Stairway To The Stars

5. A Night In Tunisia

6. Our Love Is Here To Stay

7. Like Someone In Love

x

Track List: A Swingin' Affair

1. Soy Califa

2. Don't Explain

3. You Stepped Out Of A Dream

4. The Backbone

5. (It Will Have To Do) Until The Real Thing Comes Along

6. McSplivens

x

Track List: Go!

1. Cheese Cake

2. I Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out To Dry

3. Second Balcony Jump

4. Love For Sale

5. Where Are You

6. Three O'Clock In The Morning

x

Track List: Doin' Allright

1. I Was Doing All Right

2. You've Changed

3. For Regulars Only

4. For Regulars Only (Alternate Take)

5. Society Red

6. It's You Or No One

7. I Want More

x

Track List: Doin' Allright (Remastered)

1. I Was Doing All Right

2. You've Changed

3. For Regulars Only

4. Society Red

5. It's You Or No One

6. I Want More

7. For Regulars Only (Alternate Take)

x

Track List: Daddy Plays The Horn

1. Daddy Plays The Horn

2. Confirmation

3. Darn That Dream

4. Number Four

5. Autumn In New York

6. You Can Depend On Me

x

Track List: Love For Sale

1. Cheese Cake

3. Second Balcony Jump

4. Love For Sale

5. Where Are You

6. Three O'clock In The Morning

x

Track List: The Young Dexter Gordon

1. Settin' The Pace (Parts 1 & 2)

2. So Easy

3. Dexter's Riff

4. Long Tall Dexter

5. I Can't Escape From You

6. Dexter Digs In

7. Dexter Rides Again

8. Dexter's Mood

9. Index

10. Dextrose

11. Dextivity

12. Dexter's Minor Mad

13. Dexter's Cuttin' Out

14. Dexter's Deck

15. Blow Mr. Dexter

Comments

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One Flight Up is absolutely amazing
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I saw Dexter in 1976 he did awesome show
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My Dad played Dexter Gordon albums often when I was growing up. This brings back beautiful jazz moments!
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Oh my wat a talent
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nylesfrench7
Peace , the master at worked BEAUTIFUL phrasing, note choice, etc. Classic cool and hip.
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mustafasav
What phrasing. What command of the instrument. What lyricism. What a human being. What a music.
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Loved Dexter's masculinity that comes through his music and yet the tender sweetness of his horn speaks to the consistent melodic tone of his powerful playing. While living in Bologna, I learned that he was a favorite amongst the Italians because of his robust and hearty sound that was full of life.
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spurtle4
One of the best of all time
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great Sax man......... 5 Stars for sure....
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Michael A. Missiras, Ph.D.
Trumpet/Corn e t / C o m p o s e r
NYC/ arctic1974@g m a i l . c o m

On this recording DG employs seasoned professional s as well as young modernists. But this is where these sorts of classificati o n s break down. DG was one of the first to play bebop on the tenor sax, making him an eternal modernist although at the time of this recording there were far more modern tenor saxophonist. The point here is that there is no point. A tautology, perhaps. Or just good music played well.
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OMG !!!! SOCIETY RED ❤️❤️❤️❤️
Sweet Music for the soul !!!
FLOW
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I listen to everyone, but I only transcribe Dexter because his sound and phrasing speaks to me. I hear him in head all day.
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flygybill
Phrasing, taste, and the fullest, most articulated tenor who ever lived. Bless Dexter Gordon!
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A true renaissance Man of Jazz....
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Dexter Gordon is a presence to be respected & required in anyone's collection & conversation about jazz or music. He also acted in Awakenings with Robin Williams some years ago. He has that timeless effort that brings ears & eyes to him like no one else can. A really beautiful person with a command of the horn(s). One of my personal faves is his Montreaux Summit solo work alongside Woody, Stan, & Billy Cobham (16 stars in all). Fantastic work throughout.
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matthew.bren n a n 2
great
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jebjas
Can't get much better than Dexter. Good stuff!
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IT'S IMPORTANT TO KEEP THE LEGACY OF JAZZ AND ITS GENRES ALIVE...
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One of my favorite albums-'Dadd y Plays Horn'- by one of my favorite (top-5) artists of all time. Dex was/is one of the 'true artists' of the past century_And well, just cool ya know, from the moment his mama put his feet to the floor…..LTD… . !
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Round midnight movie was based on Dexter. Worth seeing!!
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Ssax! Wow now I'm tingling in my bathing suit areas :-)
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once again blue at its best! mr,freddie hubard blow'in hard & smooth-& Dex long & tall blow'in just that way & the cast with him every one c-o-o-k-i-n! ! ! ! -
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Are you a grate singer. I just want to know
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I was lucky enough to see him several times in and around NYC from the Late `70's to `80's. Nobody had commented upon his tendency to hold his Sax out when people were applauding him, as if it were a Magic Saxophone which deserved the credit for the playing, not him.
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theeblackshe e p 7 2
patients and soul, the trill of whats next ....there is nothing like the old-school.. . . c l o s e ur eyes and let it take u ...
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debjf3701
ditto
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Open all the doors and windows...tu r n it up as LOUD as you can and let the world hear what its missing...ya gotta luv it!!!
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Whoa I love Kenny G.'s stuff but he blows Kenny out the water by a long shot... But he is amazing
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One of the Great
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dont read this because it actually works. u will be kissed by the love of your life on the nearest friday. tommorrow will be the best day of your life. but if you do not post this in two day you will die. now u have started dont stop. put this on atleast 5 songs in 143 minutes and when done press f6 and ur lovers name will appear on the screen
dont read this because it actually works. u will be kissed by the love of your life on the nearest friday. tommorrow will be the best day of your life.
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The JUICIEST ballads squoze lovingly from his tenor.
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jono793
I listen & I'm in another place from the first note. No one except DG can find that place or reach me there ….
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His BlueNote sides from the 60's are my favorite, especially on the ballads. Wonderful full tone.
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I love Eddie gladden on drums
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Dexter swings in a samba rhythm !! Wow :) x
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steelsmith8
First heard himin 1961 while in USMC. Black guys introduced him to me, been a fan ever since. No one else sounds like him as soon as you hear the first few notes you know it's Dex
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I had the honor of meeting DG at the Minneapolis airport in, I believe, 1977, just before Manhattan Symphonie was released. I cannot tell you how much it meant to me to host him that weekend. DG was obviously unlike anyone I had ever met and ever would. To be in his presence was such a spiritual experience. The concert at Uof M's Whole Coffeehous (Rufus Reid on bass and Eddie Gladden on drums) was remarkable, and the audience was delirious; really good to read the comments here. We know.
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Saw him twice on a two-night stand at the Keystone in SF. This was early 70's. A lesson in phrasing, subtlety, and taste.
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I wore out Homecoming and even learned some of his tunes and 'Round Midnight , Gingerbread Boy. Sad no one plays his tunes -
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eyeroad2000
a smokey room, and a fine scotch and the horn ...livin
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selaho37
Darn that dream, Dex owns it!!
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One thing that I always noted when he was done playing is that he'd hold out his Saxophone as if that deserved all the Credit, not him. As if he had an Enchanted Instrument. Then again, listening to him, perhaps he did!
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Probably the most important measure of a mans life is what people say about him when he is gone. It looks like Dexter Gordon had a good life and left a lot of friends saying nice things about him. DMB
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jimacwarren
Dex thanks for the art and science.Thir t y years ago I used his work to recruit dozens of young women to become jazz lvers and they are to this day.The music of love.DG till the end of time. mac
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0h Dexter you are so fine and dandy ! love ya, man
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Dex was just so cool.. I get more out of his music by watching clips on YouTube.. The body language just adds to the overall impression.. I'm an alto player, &sometimes when I get nervous or anxious or upset on stage, I think of Dex, & I start blowing cool! In deference to Yanow's left-field comment (wish he'd cut it out with those), I find his quoting is pretty amazing-- & fascinating- - We all do it to some degree, but he was a master at it!!
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milgorjon
As a young African-Amer i c a n female studying abroad in the late '60s I met Dexter Gordon in Copenhagen one summer at a performance and fell in love with his music, and him. He took a platonic interest in me..a poor fatherless kid...and encouraged my education (sometimes with unexpected and generous checks) and then attended both my college and law school graduations. Not only was he a fabulous, perhaps one of the best ever, sax players, but he was likewise an amazing human being. May he rest in
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paulapsotel
PaulaP...OMG I LOVE THIS GREAT MAN'S MUSIC, I WENT TO SEE AROUND MIDNIGHT AT A SPECIAL TIME IN MY LIFE!!!!VIC & ELEAZAR
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Dexter Gordon is why I love Jazz. Walked into a record store (remember those?) to buy my dad a Jazz CD. Had no idea what I wanted - I was maybe twelve. Go was playing on the store stereo. After asking: Who is this? I never stopped looking back. I love Dexter Gordon's melodies and freak outs - when he just goes spastic before settling in and blasting away again - man, so transcendent . And listen to my friend and hometown hero: Ian Hendrickson Smith, too!
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pnew119
Where is (one flight up?) Important piece of music,should be shared!!.
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