Dexter Gordon @ 90: An On-Stage Interview with Maxine Gordon with Live Music by UW?s Blue Note Ensemble

Student Ensembles

Celebrating what would have been the year of iconic jazz saxophonist Dexter Gordon?s 90th birthday, Gordon?s widow and former manager Maxine Gordon will visit UW Madison to talk about his life and music with WORT-FM jazz hosts Steve Braunginn and Jane Reynolds ("Strictly Jazz Sounds"). The on-stage interview at Morphy Recital Hall will also feature performances of Gordon?s compositions by UW?s Blue Note Ensemble, directed by Professor of Jazz Studies Johannes Wallmann.

Dexter Gordon is considered to be the first tenor saxophonist to adopt the bebop style and to this day continues to be one of the most influential voices on his instrument.

Born in Los Angeles in 1923, Gordon joined the Billy Eckstine band at age 21, a big band that included future jazz stars Sarah Vaughan, Dizzy Gillespie, Fats Navarro, and Sonny Stitt. In 1945, he began what would become a 45-year career as a solo recording artist with a series of recordings for the Savoy and the Dial labels. His 1947 recording with fellow tenor saxophonist Wardell Gray on ?The Chase? became Dial Records best selling album to date and established the format of the ?tenor battle.? In the late 40?s, Gordon became a frequent performer in the clubs of New York?s 52nd Street, sharing the stage with Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, and Max Roach.

In the 1960s, Gordon recorded eight classic albums for Blue Note Records, including Go! and Our Man In Paris, with such sidemen as Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Hutcherson, Sonny Clarke, Barry Harris, and Billy Higgins. Following a 1962 performance in Europe, Gordon relocated first to Paris and then Copenhagen, where he performed and recorded prolifically with ex-pat and visiting American musicians as well as European musicians on the Blue Note, SteepleChase, and Prestige record labels.

Gordon returned in 1976 to the New York jazz scene with engagements at the Storyville and Village Vanguard clubs. ?Homecoming,? a double-LP live recording from the Village Vanguard, became a best-selling record for Columbia and prompted the resurgence in interest among American audiences in acoustic swinging jazz. In 1978 and 1980, Gordon was named Jazz Musician of the Year by Down Beat magazine, and he was voted into Down Beat?s Jazz Hall of Fame in 1980.

In 1986, Gordon starred in the movie Round Midnight as Dale Turner, a composite character based on the lives of American ex-pat jazz musicians Bud Powell and Lester Young, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. The soundtrack for the film, under the musical direction of Herbie Hancock, included Gordon?s long-term musical associates Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Hutcherson, Pierre Michelot, and Billy Higgins and won the Academy Award for Best Original Score.

Dexter Gordon died of liver failure in 1990.

Mon, Mar 11 2013   7:30 PM

Morphy Hall

Blue Note Ensemble
Johannes Wallmann, director

Free and unticketed