Maxine Gordon, author of Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon, discusses her late husband’s complex, fascinating life....
April 11th, 2019
In this edition, Dexter Gordon tells the story of joining Louis Armstrong’s band in 1944, and how they enjoyed their intermission time....
April 2nd, 2019
I will soon be interviewing Ms. Maxine Gordon, author of Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon, whose biography of her late husband is a creatively and beautifully told account of the essential mid-20th century saxophonist....
January 22nd, 2019
In the introduction to his book Journey Into Jazz, photographer Lee Santa shares his earliest and fascinating experiences with jazz music…A sampling of his photographs follow.
I’m not a musician. I’m not a music critic. And you’ll soon find out I’m not a writer. I am simply a fan of jazz who is also a photographer.
Though I didn’t know what it was called at the time, my earliest recollection of jazz was growing up in 1950s Indiana. My father had a couple of LP albums I liked listening to; one was by Stan Kenton and the other was the sound track from the film...
February 5th, 2017
She stood in a room at The Met glancing at the painting on the wall, which was of two women kissing. From her vantage point, standing slightly away and to the side, the two women lying together interlocked in bed appeared cushioned awkwardly in space, free-floating yet connected.
The painting was by Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, the alcoholic French dwarf artist, and she tried to imagine what it was like living when he did in Paris at the time of the painting, 1892, and what it might have been like for these two prostitutes and others like them who often turned to one another for relief from a world of men then.
Mireille, it was reported, was one of the girls in the brothel in the Rue d’Amboise, when Lautrec was commissioned to create a series of panels about the lives of the girls there, and she was one of his favorites. He visited the salons of the brothels in the Rue des Moulins and Rue d’Amboise many times to study and paint the women, who felt very free to be...
February 2nd, 2016
the pain contained within those
seemingly effortless sounds
lifts us from our couches
to applaud years
after the event
the tone arches stretches slinks struts
leaps to fence tops and deftly prances
December 18th, 2015
I will be traveling for the next couple of week so postings (if any) will be sparse. Wishing everyone the best for remainder of the summer!
Hope you enjoy this documentary footage of Dexter Gordon in Montmarte, Copenhagen, 1971. Click on “continue reading” to view it.
August 26th, 2014
Lee Santa, who calls himself “simply a fan of jazz who is also a photographer” and whose life has been “heavily influenced by jazz’s sounds, structures and impressions,” recently reached out to me via email, informing me that Roundbend Press has just released his collection of photographs, A Journey Into Jazz: Anecdotes, Notes and Photos of a Jazz Fan.
Along with his entertaining introduction to the book, Santa sent me several photographs from the book — all of which I have never seen before. For example, there is Ornette Coleman at Berkeley’s Greek Theater in the turbulent year of 1968, Pharoah Sanders at the Village Gate in 1970, Sam Rivers playing outdoors (maybe at the Jazz Festival?) in Portland, 1979, and one of Mose Allison in Seattle in 1988 (about the same time I recall seeing him at a club in Portland).
Santa’s background story is very cool, and is told in his introduction and in Terry Simons’ publisher’s note, both published here. At the end of Santa’s introduction, you will find several photos...
August 26th, 2014
Although Dexter Gordson’s influence was felt by many of the great tenor saxophonists of the 1950’s, due to what is often described as “personal demons,” he was pretty much overlooked throughout the decade. “Dexter was able to consolidate his substantial progress only during the first couple of years in the fifties,” wrote Stan Britt, author of Dexter Gordon: A Musical Biography. “Thereafter, his was to become something of a half-forgotten name among jazz personalities of the decade.” At the root of this inactivity was, of course, that “demon” — heroin. His two year incarceration for heroin possession, followed by the death of his close friend Wardell Gray was, Britt wrote,...
July 29th, 2014
This west coast-based musician was a hot tenor of the forties who appeared in many of the top jam sessions during his era, including “The Duel,” with Dexter Gordon. Who was he?
December 23rd, 2013
For many of us, the photography of Herman Leonard is our first link to jazz culture. Ellington in Paris, Dexter with a Chesterfield, a youthful Miles, Satchmo in Birdland…These images, in some cases more so than the music, are responsible for our devotion to preserving and protecting the art the musicians of mid 20th Century America created, and Herman Leonard reported on....
March 6th, 2000