Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon by Maxine Gordon (University of California Press)

Review of the tenor legend's latest biography, written by his widow

Cover of Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon
Cover of Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon

Do you remember your first Dexter Gordon moment? Did his bold, brash, relentlessly swinging playing grab you by the ears and refuse to let go? That jubilant tenor saxophone sound is Gordon’s most obvious legacy. However, in this new biography by his widow Maxine, we find that there’s much more to know and appreciate about “Long Tall Dexter.”

Gordon’s life has previously been chronicled, but not with so much of his own achingly personal, brutally honest voice. Sophisticated Giant is not a critical analysis of his music; instead, Maxine has interwoven Dexter’s own letters and poetry with a broad spectrum of anecdotal accounts, plus her own meticulous scholarship and adoring reflections, to craft a vivid life story.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published