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Dexter Gordon (February 27, 1923 – April 25, 1990) was an American jazz tenor saxophonist. He was one of the first players of the instrument in the bebop idiom of musicians such as Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Bud Powell. Gordon's height was 6 feet 6 inches (198 cm), so he was also known as "Long Tall Dexter" and "Sophisticated Giant". His studio and performance career spanned over 40 years.

Gordon's sound was commonly characterized as being "large" and spacious and he had a tendency to play behind the beat. He was known for humorously inserting musical quotes into his solos, with sources as diverse as popular tunes, "Happy Birthday", and the operas of Wagner. This is not unusual in common-practice jazz improvisation, but Gordon did it frequently enough to make it a hallmark of his style. One of his major influences was Lester Young. Gordon, in turn, was an early influence on John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins. Rollins and Coltrane then influenced Gordon's playing as he explored hard bop and modal playing during the 1960s.

Gordon was known for his genial and humorous stage presence. He was an advocate of playing to communicate with the audience. A photograph by Herman Leonard of Gordon taking a smoke break at the Royal Roost in 1948 is one of the iconic images in jazz photography. Cigarettes were a recurring theme on covers of Gordon's albums. One of his idiosyncratic rituals was to recite lyrics from each ballad before playing it.

Gordon was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance in the Bertrand Tavernier film Round Midnight (Warner Bros, 1986), and he won a Grammy for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Soloist, for the soundtrack album The Other Side of Round Midnight (Blue Note Records, 1986). He also had a cameo role in the 1990 movie Awakenings.

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Discography

Album + Soundtrack

Year Title RatingReleases
2002 Round Midnight: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack 1

Unspecified type

Year Title RatingReleases
1996 Blue Dex: Dexter Gordon Plays The Blues 1
Dexter Gordon Plays - The Bethlehem Years 1
Gone With the Wind 1
The Tower of Power / More Power 1
True Blue 1

Compilation

Year Title RatingReleases
2006 Just Jazz: Quartet 1
GUERRIER DU SAX TENOR 1

Live

Year Title RatingReleases
1997 The Squirrel 1
L.T.D.: Live at the Left Bank 1
Nights at the Keystone, Volume 1 1
Nights at the Keystone, Volume 2 1
Nights at the Keystone, Volume 3 1
XXL: Live at the Left Bank 1

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