Daddy Plays The Horn Dexter Gordon
- 1Daddy Plays The Horn04:51
- 3Darn That Dream08:59
- 4Number Four09:08
- 5Autumn In New York07:50
- 6You Can Depend On Me04:21
Info for Daddy Plays The Horn
Dexter Keith Gordon was born on February 27, 1923 in Los Angeles, California. Aside from being one of the tallest musicians during the ’50s Jazz Era, Dexter Gordon was also referred to as the “Father of the Tenor Saxophone” and the first musician to translate the language of Bebop to the tenor saxophone. Gordon’s 1956 release of “Daddy Plays the Horn” is a half-dozen sides of Gordon’s emotive expressions all of which embrace the warmth of his tenor & sensual phrasing.
His broad legendary sound is widely remembered for it’s sense of style, sophistication and tremendous magnetism. His music influenced jazz fans and the collective psyche of American pop-culture; breathing life into the terms “cool,” “hip,” and “slick.”
„Before Dexter Gordon became more known as a mainstream tenor saxophonist with a strong blues influence, as well as a master balladeer; in the early ’50s he held his own with beboppers like Wardell Gray in bop sax duels.
For a 1955 Hollywood session, Gordon was recorded on Bethlehem Records with a rhythm section of pianist Kenny Drew, walking bassist extraordinaire Leroy Vinnegar, and drummer Lawrence Marable. Song selection was a mixture of standard ballads and tunes written by Charlie Parker and Dexter himself.
On the title track, a twelve-bar blues taken at a mid-tempo, Dexter sets a comfortable mood strongly supported by Drew, who gets an extended soulful solo. “Confirmation,” a Bird bop staple has Dex blowing a little less frenetic than the standard for that time period. Again Kenny Drew gets to have several full choruses, almost getting equal time with Gordon, making the tune as much his as the leader. I dug Leroy’s walking bass lines here. Dexter’s strongest work is on the ballads “Darn that Dream” as well as on “Autumn in New York.” Gordon has few tenor peers who could match him for the lyricism that these ballads deserve. Only Ben Webster comes to mind.
Other highlights can be found on “Number Four” and “You Can Depend on Me,” with the former a medium tempo tune, and the latter having a little more heat. Both show Dex fully in command and a true master of the tenor, which he would continue to demonstrate for another three decades. The time given to Kenny Drew for some extended solos is a nice bonus on this LP. The remastering is first rate as each musician is warmly presented in the sound mix.“ (Jeff Krow, Audiophile Auditions)
Dexter Gordon, tenor saxophone
Kenny Drew, piano
Leroy Vinnegar, bass
Larry Marable, drums
is considered to be the first musician to translate the language of Bebop to the tenor saxophone.
Dexter Keith Gordon was born on February 27, 1923 in Los Angeles, California. His father, Dr. Frank Gordon, was one of the first African American doctors in Los Angeles who arrived in 1918 after graduating from Howard Medical School in Washington, D.C. Among his patients were Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton. Dexter’s mother, Gwendolyn Baker, was the daughter of Captain Edward Baker, one of the five African American Medal of Honor recipients in the Spanish-American War. Dexter began his study of music with the clarinet at age 13, then switched to the alto saxophone at 15, and finally to the tenor saxophone at 17. He studied music with Lloyd Reese and at Jefferson High School with Sam Browne. In his last year of high school, he received a call from alto saxophonist Marshall Royal asking him to join the Lionel Hampton Band. He left Los Angeles with the band, traveling down south and learning to play from fellow band members Illinois Jacquet and Joe Newman. In January 1941, the band played at the Grand Terrace in Chicago for six months and the radio broadcasts made there were Dexter’s first recordings. It was in 1943, while in New York City with the Hampton band, that Dexter sat in at Minton’s Playhouse with Ben Webster and Lester Young. This was to be one of the most important moments in his long musical career as, as he put it, “people started to take notice.”
Back in Los Angeles in 1943, Dexter played mainly with Lee Young (Lester Young’s brother) and with Jesse Price plus a few weeks with the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra. In 1944, he worked with Louis Armstrong ‘s orchestra which was one of the highlights of his careers. Being in the company of the great trumpet master was inspiring and gave him insight into the world of music that he never forgot. It was during this period that Gordon made his first lengthy solo recordings as the leader of a quintet session with Nat “King” Cole as a sideman.
In 1944, Dexter joined the Billy Eckstine band, the source of many of the Bebop innovators of the time and many of the most prominent bandleaders in the future. He was surrounded nightly by Sarah Vaughan, Dizzy Gillespie, Fats Navarro, Sonny Stitt, Gene Ammons, Leo Parker, John Malachi, and other architects of the new music.
Dexter began to record for Savoy Records in 1945 with tunes such as Blow Mr. Dexter, Dexter’s Deck, Dexter’s Cuttin’ Out, Long Tall Dexter (none of which were named by the composer). These early recordings are examples of the development of his sound and his style which influenced many of the younger tenor players of that day, including Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane.
In 1947, Dexter recorded his historic sides for Dial Records, including “The Chase” with tenor saxophonist Wardell Gray. The two tenor “duels” became very popular at this time and Dexter commented that despite the differences in style, it was sometimes hard for him to tell where one left off and the other began. This recording was to become the biggest seller for Dial and further established Dexter as a leader and a recording artist.
In the late 40s, Dexter appeared on the famed 52nd Street in New York City with Charlie Parker, Fats Navarro, Miles Davis, Max Roach, and many of the bebop innovators of the day. The classic photo of Dexter at the Royal Roost in 1948 has become the iconic photo of the bebop musician and has been reprinted on album covers, t-shirts, posters, and print ads.
In 1960, Dexter was approached by Alfred Lion to sign with Blue Note Records. For five years, he made on session after another, and they are all considered classics. When asked which of all his recordings was his favorite, Dexter said: “I would have to say it is Go! The perfect rhythm section which made is possible for me to play whatever I wanted to play.”
The Blue Note recordings allowed him the opportunity to record with Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Hutcherson, Barry Harris, Kenny Drew, Horace Parlan, Bud Powell, and Billy Higgins. The Blue Note recordings are still available and are considered jazz classics.
A gig in 1962 at Ronnie Scott’s Club in London was a new experience for Dexter and he began to travel and work in Europe. Eventually, he settled in Copenhagen where he lived until his return to the U.S. in 1976. During that period in Europe, he traveled extensively, worked for long periods at the historic Jazzhus Montmartre and recorded for European labels as well as Prestige Records. In 1976, Dexter enjoyed a hero’s welcome in the U.S. when he made his return engagement at Storyville in New York City with Woody Shaw, Louis Hayes, Ronnie Mathews, and Stafford James. He subsequently played the Village Vanguard, signed with Columbia Records, and was officially back in town. He organized his first working band during this period with George Cables, Rufus Reid, and Eddie Gladden. He considered this band to be his best band and he toured extensively with them and recorded Live at the Keystone (Mosaic) and Manhattan Symphonie (CBS Sony) with the group.
In 1986, Dexter moved into his new career, acting, in the motion picture Round Midnight which was directed by Bertrand Tavernier. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Leading Actor in 1986 for his portrayal of Dale Turner, a character based on the lives of Lester Young and Bud Powell. The music for the film won an Oscar for musical director, Herbie Hancock. The film included fellow musicians Bobby Hutcherson, Billy Higgins, Cedar Walton, Freddie Hubbard, Tony Williams, Pierre Michelot, John McLaughlin, and Wayne Shorter.
Dexter Gordon’s last major concert appearance was with the New York Philharmonic in Ellingtones, a concerto written for him by acclaimed composer David Baker and conducted by James de Priest. (Source: www.dextergordon.com)
Dexter died on April 25, 1990 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.