Sunday, February 03, 2008

Dexter Gordon: “Loose Walk” (1964)

This was recorded in a small Cafe in Amersfoort in the Netherlands. He was backed up by a Swiss trio with George Gruntz piano, Guy Pederson bass and drummer Daniel Humair.

Dexter Gordon (1923-1990) was a jazz tenor saxophonist considered one of the first bebop tenor players.

He was born and grew up in Los Angeles, where he played clarinet from the age of 13, before switching to saxophone (initially alto, then tenor) at 15. While still at school, he was playing in bands with such contemporaries as Chico Hamilton and Buddy Collette.

During 1943-44 he featured in the Louis Armstrong and Fletcher Henderson bands, before joining Billy Eckstine.

By 1945, Gordon had left the Eckstine band and was resident in New York, where he was performing and recording with Charlie Parker, as well as recording under his own name. One of his major influences was Lester Young. Gordon, in turn, was an early influence on John Coltrane during the 1940s and 1950s. Coltrane's playing, however, during his early period from the mid to late '50s or early '60s influenced Gordon's playing from then onward. Similarities in their styles include their clear, strong, metallic tones, their tendencies to bend up to high notes, and their abilities to single-tongue and still swing. One of Gordon's idiosyncrasies was to recite the lyrics of each ballad before playing it.

In 1986 he was nominated for an Academy Award for best actor for his role in the movie, Round Midnight.

You can find the official Dexter Gordon website here.

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