Dexter Gordon Biography (BBC)
Born and brought up in Los Angeles, Gordon was the first musician to develop a convincing individual bebop style of modern jazz on the tenor saxophone. He combined the facility and invention of Charlie Parker with many of the traditions of swing tenor-playing, notably the lightness of Lester Young and the bluesiness of the Texas school, but in due course developed this into a hard-toned original style of his own.
He was a key influence on both Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane. After playing with many musicians in the Central Avenue area of his home town, including Charles Mingus, he left to join Lionel Hampton at the age of 17, and after three years with that band, went on to work with Louis Armstrong and Billy Eckstine.
By now hooked on modern jazz, he spent 1944-6 in New York, and recorded with Dizzy Gillespie and Bud Powell. Gordon had made his reputation in the West for winning 'battles' against other tenorists, in an ever more complex stream of improvisation, and after staging such events with Hampton's band, he was featured in many other such duels - notably with fellow tenorist Wardell Gray.
Drug addiction interrupted his career in the 1950s but in the 60s he went on to make an impressive series of discs for Blue Note, and relocated to Europe, where for 15 years he was one of the key US expatriates to influence the local scene. He moved back to New York in 1976, touring and recording with vigour, but continuing to be popular in Europe, where he starred in the film Round Midnight in 1986.
Dexter Gordon Biography (Wikipedia)
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.
Dexter Gordon Tracks