2016 marks the thirtieth anniversary of French director Bertrand Tavernier's jazz movie, Round Midnight - now regarded as a classic - which starred the great tenor saxophonist, DEXTER GORDON, in his debut acting role portraying fictional expatriate American musician, Dale Turner. Dexter's mesmerising performance understandably garnered him an Oscar nomination and succeeded in transforming the genial, 6' 6'' bebop icon, who was then 63, into a veritable movie star. Though jazz was still undoubtedly his raison d'être, Dexter went on to star alongside heavyweight actors Robert Di Niro and Robin Williams in the acclaimed 1990 film, Awakenings, based on the work of British neurologist, Oliver Sacks (though sadly, Dexter passed away before the film was released).
Fast forward to 2016, and Dexter Gordon is back in the news. He features in a new movie, a Danish documentary called Cool Cats that chronicles both his and fellow tenor titan Ben Webster's stay in Denmark in the 1960s (Dexter lived in Europe between 1962 and 1976, eventually settling in Copenhagen). In addition to this, there have been selected showings of Round Midnight - to celebrate its 'birthday' - at various places around the globe.
But interest in Dexter Gordon doesn't end there. There's also a new album out. It's called 'Fried Bananas' - named after one of Dexter's signature pieces - and features a superb live performance recorded in Holland in 1972. The album's released on vinyl LP by the British audiophile label, Gearbox, which is renowned for the excellent sound quality of its releases. The album's liner notes were written by Dexter's widow, Maxine Gordon (pictured above with the saxophonist) who was also his manager and is currently putting the finishing touches to a long-awaited biography of her husband. She also supervises her husband's estate - alongside her son Woody Shaw III - and runs the Dexter Gordon Society, whose aim is both to preserve and extend the saxophone giant's legacy.
In an exclusive interview with SJF's Charles Waring, Maxine Gordon discusses the new Gearbox album and tells us about her work with the Dexter Gordon Society...
Last Updated on Monday, 10 April 2017 21:55