Dexter Gordon

Jazz Saxophonist

Dexter Gordon was an American jazz tenor saxophonist and an Academy Award-nominated actor (Round Midnight, Warner Bros, 1986). He is regarded as one of the first and most important musicians to adapt the bebop musical language of people like Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Bud Powell to the tenor saxophone. His studio and live performance career were both extensive and multifaceted, spanning over 50 years in recorded jazz history.… Read More

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1923 Birth Born on February 27, 1923.


1940 17 Years Old Between 1940 and 1943, Gordon was a member of Lionel Hampton's band, playing in a saxophone section alongside Illinois Jacquet and Marshall Royal.


1943 20 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1943 he made his first recordings under his own name, alongside Nat Cole and Harry Edison.
1945 22 Years Old 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.
1947 24 Years Old Gordon was a virtuoso particularly famous for his titanic saxophone duels with fellow tenorman Wardell Gray that were a popular live attraction and that were documented in several albums between 1947 and 1952. … Read More


1960 37 Years Old Gordon was a saxophonist for the L.A. production of the Jack Gelber play The Connection in 1960, replacing Jackie McLean who performed and recorded the Freddie Redd score in New York City. … Read More
1961 38 Years Old The first two, his Blue Note debuts, were recorded over three days in May 1961 with Freddie Hubbard, Horace Parlan and others.
1962 39 Years Old The last two were recorded in August 1962 just before Gordon left for his extended stay in Europe. … Read More


1964 41 Years Old One Flight Up features an extended solo by Gordon on the track "Tanya" recorded in Paris in 1964 with trumpeter Donald Byrd, while Gettin' Around was recorded during a visit back to the US in May 1965, as was the unreleased album Clubhouse. … Read More
1965 42 Years Old From 1965-1973 he switched from Blue Note to Prestige Records but stayed very much on the hard-bop track; while the rest of the jazz world was getting funky, Gordon was making classic bop albums like 1972's Tangerine with Thad Jones, Freddie Hubbard, and Hank Jones. … Read More


1976 53 Years Old Gordon finally returned to the United States for good in 1976. … Read More


1985 62 Years Old In 1985, Dexter Gordon was named a member and Officer of the French Order of Arts and Letters by the Ministry of Culture in France, and was nominated for an Academy Award in 1986.
1986 63 Years Old In 1986, Gordon starred in the movie Round Midnight as 'Dale Turner', an expatriate jazz musician much like himself; the role might even be a thinly veiled biography of him, though Lester Young and Bud Powell were its main inspirations. … Read More
1990 67 Years Old 1 More Event
Gordon died of kidney failure in Philadelphia, PA on April 25, 1990, at age 67. … Read More
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