Dexter Gordon this week. From a broadcast concert on February 9, 1973, recorded at Studio 104 of Radio France, Dexter Gordon and his quartet, consisting of Georges Arvanitas on piano, Alby Cullaz on bass and Daniel Humair on drums, pack in a 45 minute set to a knocked-out Parisian crowd.
Having made Europe his home since 1961, audiences had a much better chance of hearing Dexter in Paris than they would in New York at the time. Although Dexter Gordon has been a tremendously influential figure in the Bop era of Jazz, it was the turbulent time of the Civil Rights movement and the social turmoil going on all over the country, that made Europe something of a cultural oasis – not only for Dexter Gordon but many African American musicians, writers, painters – any one of color in the arts who found the atmosphere in Europe refreshing and welcoming, not loaded with stigma and oppression as it had been for so long in the U.S.
So this 1973 concert came at a time he was recording predominantly for Steeplechase, a Danish Jazz label that picked up the Dexter Gordon legacy after his association with Blue Note and Prestige ended – also during a time he was using European sidement, and in doing so, brought attention to what was (and still is) a vast untapped reservoir of notable Jazz figures on the other side of the Atlantic.
Dexter Gordon would return to the States, permanently relocating in 1976. It was during this time he became the elder statesman, of sorts, but also extended his legacy to other avenues, such as his milestone appearance in the Bertrand Tavernier film ‘Round Midnight which won him an Oscar Nomination for Best Actor.
His recorded legacy is huge – it covers a vast expanse of Jazz history and involvements, from Louis Armstrong to Charlie Parker. If you’re just getting into Jazz, Dexter Gordon is a must-discover and one of the most important figures in the history of Jazz. His collaborations read like a who’s who. And virtually everything is in print.
Start digging – starting here.