Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, United States, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, developed from roots in blues and ragtime. Jazz is seen by many as "America's classical music". Since the 1920s Jazz Age, jazz has become recognized as a major form of musical expression, it emerged in the form of independent traditional and popular musical styles, all linked by the common bonds of African-American and European-American musical parentage with a performance orientation. Jazz is characterized by swing and blue notes and response vocals and improvisation. Jazz has roots in West African cultural and musical expression, in African-American music traditions including blues and ragtime, as well as European military band music. Intellectuals around the world have hailed jazz as "one of America's original art forms"; as jazz spread around the world, it drew on national and local musical cultures, which gave rise to different styles. New Orleans jazz began in the early 1910s, combining earlier brass-band marches, French quadrilles, biguine and blues with collective polyphonic improvisation.
In the 1930s arranged dance-oriented swing big bands, Kansas City jazz, a hard-swinging, improvisational style and Gypsy jazz were the prominent styles. Bebop emerged in the 1940s, shifting jazz from danceable popular music toward a more challenging "musician's music", played at faster tempos and used more chord-based improvisation. Cool jazz developed near the end of the 1940s, introducing calmer, smoother sounds and long, linear melodic lines; the 1950s saw the emergence of free jazz, which explored playing without regular meter and formal structures, in the mid-1950s, hard bop emerged, which introduced influences from rhythm and blues and blues in the saxophone and piano playing. Modal jazz developed in the late 1950s, using the mode, or musical scale, as the basis of musical structure and improvisation. Jazz-rock fusion appeared in the late 1960s and early 1970s, combining jazz improvisation with rock music's rhythms, electric instruments, amplified stage sound. In the early 1980s, a commercial form of jazz fusion called smooth jazz became successful, garnering significant radio airplay.
Other styles and genres abound in the 2000s, such as Afro-Cuban jazz. The origin of the word "jazz" has resulted in considerable research, its history is well documented, it is believed to be related to "jasm", a slang term dating back to 1860 meaning "pep, energy". The earliest written record of the word is in a 1912 article in the Los Angeles Times in which a minor league baseball pitcher described a pitch which he called a "jazz ball" "because it wobbles and you can't do anything with it"; the use of the word in a musical context was documented as early as 1915 in the Chicago Daily Tribune. Its first documented use in a musical context in New Orleans was in a November 14, 1916 Times-Picayune article about "jas bands". In an interview with NPR, musician Eubie Blake offered his recollections of the slang connotations of the term, saying, "When Broadway picked it up, they called it'J-A-Z-Z', it wasn't called that. It was spelled'J-A-S-S'; that was dirty, if you knew what it was, you wouldn't say it in front of ladies."
The American Dialect Society named it the Word of the Twentieth Century. Jazz is difficult to define because it encompasses a wide range of music spanning a period of over 100 years, from ragtime to the rock-infused fusion. Attempts have been made to define jazz from the perspective of other musical traditions, such as European music history or African music, but critic Joachim-Ernst Berendt argues that its terms of reference and its definition should be broader, defining jazz as a "form of art music which originated in the United States through the confrontation of the Negro with European music" and arguing that it differs from European music in that jazz has a "special relationship to time defined as'swing'". Jazz involves "a spontaneity and vitality of musical production in which improvisation plays a role" and contains a "sonority and manner of phrasing which mirror the individuality of the performing jazz musician". In the opinion of Robert Christgau, "most of us would say that inventing meaning while letting loose is the essence and promise of jazz".
A broader definition that encompasses different eras of jazz has been proposed by Travis Jackson: "it is music that includes qualities such as swing, group interaction, developing an'individual voice', being open to different musical possibilities". Krin Gibbard argued that "jazz is a construct" which designates "a number of musics with enough in common to be understood as part of a coherent tradition". In contrast to commentators who have argued for excluding types of jazz, musicians are sometimes reluctant to define the music they play. Duke Ellington, one of jazz's most famous figures, said, "It's all music." Although jazz is considered difficult to define, in part because it contains many subgenres, improvisation is one of its defining elements. The centrality of improvisation is attributed to the influence of earlier forms of music such as blues, a form of folk music which arose in part from the work songs and field hollers of African-American slaves on plantations; these work songs were structured around a repetitive call-and-response pattern, but early blues was improvisational.
Classical music performance is evaluated more by its fidelity to the musical score, with less attention given to interpretation and accompaniment. The classical performer's goal is to play the composition. In contrast, jazz is characterized by the product of i
Come Dance with Me! (album)
Come Dance with Me! is an album by American vocalist Frank Sinatra, released in 1959. Come Dance with Me! was Sinatra's most successful album, spending two and a half years on the Billboard charts. Stereo Review wrote in 1959 that "Sinatra swaggers his way with effortless verve through an appealing collection of bouncy standards, aptly described in the album notes as'vocals that dance'". At the Grammy Awards of 1960, Come Dance with Me! won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year, as well as Grammy Award for Best Vocal Performance, Male. Billy May won the Grammy Award for Best Arrangement. Come Dance With Me stayed on Billboard's Pop album chart for 140 weeks. In 1987, Capitol released Come Dance with Me! on compact disc with four extra songs not found on the original LP. The album was again remastered in 1998 for the "Entertainer of the Century" series of Sinatra reissues; this version includes the same four bonus tracks found on the 1987 release. "Come Dance with Me" – 2:31 "Something's Gotta Give" – 2:38 "Just in Time" – 2:24 "Dancing in the Dark" – 2:26 "Too Close for Comfort" – 2:34 "I Could Have Danced All Night" – 2:40 "Saturday Night" – 1:54 "Day In, Day Out" – 3:25 "Cheek to Cheek" – 3:06 "Baubles, Bangles & Beads" – 2:46 "The Song Is You" – 2:43 "The Last Dance" – 2:11 CD reissue bonus tracks not included on the original 1959 release: "It All Depends on You" – 2:06 "Nothing in Common" – 2:32 "Same Old Song and Dance" – 2:52 "How Are Ya' Fixed for Love?"
– 2:25 Frank Sinatra - vocals Keely Smith - vocals Billy May - arranger, conductor Heinie Beau - arrangerTracks 1, 5, 6, 12: Mannie Klein, Shorty Sherock, Conrad Gozzo, Frank Beach, Joe Triscari. Heinie Beau, Billy May. Tracks 2, 3, 11: Shorty Sherock, Conrad Gozzo, Mannie Klein, Frank Beach. Tracks 4, 7, 8, 9, 10: Shorty Sherock, Conrad Gozzo, Mannie Klein, Pete Candoli. Heinie Beau, Billy May. Track 13: Conrad Gozzo, Mickey Mangano, Robert Guy, Pete Candoli. Tracks 14, 15, 16: Conrad Gozzo, Frank Beach, Johnny Best, Harry Edison.
Diana Jean Krall, OC, OBC is a Canadian jazz pianist and singer, known for her contralto vocals. She has sold more than 6 million albums over 15 million albums worldwide. On December 11, 2009, Billboard magazine named her the second Jazz Artist of the Decade, establishing her as one of the best-selling artists of her time. Krall is the only jazz singer to have had eight albums debuting at the top of the Billboard Jazz Albums. To date, she has won three Grammy Awards and eight Juno Awards, she has earned nine gold, three platinum, seven multi-platinum albums. Krall was born on November 16, 1964, in Nanaimo, British Columbia, the daughter of Adella A. an elementary school teacher, Stephen James "Jim" Krall, an accountant. Krall's only sibling, Michelle, is a former member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Krall's father played piano at home and her mother sang in a community choir. Krall began studying piano herself at the age of four, took exams through The Royal Conservatory of Music. In high school she was a member of a student jazz group.
Krall won a scholarship to attend the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she studied from 1981 to 1983, before going to Los Angeles to play jazz. She returned to Canada to release her first album in 1993. Krall's mother died of multiple myeloma in 2002, within months of the deaths of Krall's mentors Ray Brown and Rosemary Clooney. Krall and British musician Elvis Costello were married on December 6, 2003, at Elton John's estate outside London, their twin sons, Dexter Henry Lorcan and Frank Harlan James, were born December 6, 2006, in New York City. In 1993, Krall released her first album, Stepping Out, which she recorded with John Clayton and Jeff Hamilton, it caught the attention of producer Tommy LiPuma, who produced her second album, Only Trust Your Heart. Her third album, All for You: A Dedication to the Nat King Cole Trio, was nominated for a Grammy and continued for 70 weeks in the Billboard jazz charts. Love Scenes became a hit record with the trio of Krall, Russell Malone and Christian McBride.
In August 2000, Krall paired with Tony Bennett for a 20-city tour. They paired again for a song on the TV series Spectacle: Elvis Costello with... Orchestral arrangements by Johnny Mandel provided the background for the album When I Look In Your Eyes; the band mix was kept, following arrangements on The Look of Love created by Claus Ogerman. The title track from the album, a cover of the Casino Royale standard popularized in the late 1960s by Dusty Springfield and Sérgio Mendes, reached number 22 on the adult contemporary chart. In September 2001, Krall began a world tour, her concert at the Paris Olympia was recorded and released as her first live record, Diana Krall – Live in Paris. The album included covers of Billy Joel's "Just The Way You Are" and Joni Mitchell's "A Case Of You"; the 2001 movie "The Score", starring Robert De Niro and Marlon Brando, featured a recording of Krall's entitled: "I'll Make It Up As I Go." This song was composed by fellow Canadian, David Foster. After marrying Costello, Krall worked with him as a lyricist and began to compose her own songs, resulting in the album The Girl in the Other Room.
The album, released in April 2004 rose to the top five in the United Kingdom and made the Australian top 40 album charts. She joined Ray Charles on his Genius Loves Company album in 2004 for the song "You Don't Know Me." In late May 2007, Krall was featured in a Lexus ad campaign. That year she sang "Dream a Little Dream of Me" with piano accompaniment by pianist Hank Jones. Quiet Nights was released on March 31, 2009. Krall produced Barbra Streisand's album Love Is the Answer, released on September 29, 2009. In 2011, Krall went on a private retreat to Sri Lanka. In September 2012, she accompanied Paul McCartney at Capitol Studios in a live performance of his album Kisses on the Bottom, shown live on the internet. On September 13, 2012, Krall performed "Fly Me to the Moon" at astronaut Neil Armstrong's memorial service in Washington, D. C. Glad Rag Doll was released on October 2, 2012. Wallflower is her 12th studio album, released on February 2015 by Verve Records; the album was produced by David Foster.
Among the composers Krall and Foster tackled were the Eagles, Elton John and Bernie Taupin, 10cc, Neil Finn, Gilbert O'Sullivan. The title track is from Bob Dylan's "Bootleg Series." And Paul McCartney gave her his blessing to record a unreleased original he'd written for his own jazz-flavored Kisses on the Bottom. On May 5, 2017, Krall released her thirteenth album, through Verve Records; the album was produced by Tommy LiPuma. The album won a Juno Award as vocal jazz album of the year in 2018. On September 14, 2018, a joint album between Krall and Tony Bennett, Love Is Here to Stay, was released; the album features the song "Fascinating Rhythm," recorded by Bennett in 1949, which earned him a Guinness World Record for the "longest time between the release of an original recording and a re-recording of the same single by the same artist" — 68 years and 342 days. Officer of the Order of Canada - 2005 Member of the Order of British Columbia - 2000 Honorary Ph. D. from the University of Victoria.
Induction into Canada's Walk of Fame. - 2004 Nanaimo Harbourfront Plaza was renamed Diana Krall Plaza. - 2008 Honorary B
Wonderful Wonderful (Johnny Mathis album)
Wonderful Wonderful is an album by American pop singer Johnny Mathis, released on July 8, 1957, on the Columbia Records label but does not include his hit song of the same name or any of his songs that were released as singles that year. The liner notes on the back of the original album cover proclaim that "he stamps as his own such familiar rhythm tunes as'Too Close for Comfort' and'That Old Black Magic', injects new life in well-known ballads such as'All Through the Night', gives new hearings to several fine standards that have been neglected in recent years, introduces a brand new ballad."This sophomore effort debuted on Billboard magazine's list of the 25 Best-Selling Pop LPs in the issue dated September 9 of that year and reached number four during its 26 weeks there. The album was only available in the monaural format but was reissued in 1962 with a banner added to the original cover that read, "Electronically Re-channeled for Stereo", it was issued in Great Britain by Fontana Records in 1957 with a different jacket design and cover photo and was released for the first time on compact disc on May 14, 2001, as one of two albums on one CD, the other LP being the UK version of his self-titled 1956 debut.
AllMusic's Joe Viglione had high praise for Mathis here. "Even at the outset of his career, the voice that would become so familiar is in control and not just flirting with perfection -- the instrument is tuned and full of life." The reviewer wrote, "The production is sublime and the album is a real treasure" and that "Jimmy Abato's alto sax and Ernie Royal's trumpet do wonders next to Mathis's voice." "Will I Find My Love Today?" – 3:32 "Looking at You" – 2:16 "Let Me Love You" – 3:47 "All Through the Night" from Anything Goes – 2:56 "It Could Happen to You" from And the Angels Sing – 3:47 "That Old Black Magic" – 2:51 "Too Close for Comfort" from Mr. Wonderful – 2:34 "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning" – 3:13 "Year After Year" – 3:12 "Early Autumn" – 3:38 "You Stepped Out of a Dream" from Ziegfeld Girl – 2:44 "Day In, Day Out" – 2:08 From the liner notes for The Voice of Romance: The Columbia Original Album Collection: March 27, 1957 — "Early Autumn", "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning", "It Could Happen to You", "Let Me Love You" March 28, 1957 — "All Through the Night", "Will I Find My Love Today?", "Year After Year", "You Stepped Out of a Dream" April 1, 1957 — "Day In, Day Out", "Looking at You", "That Old Black Magic", "Too Close for Comfort" Johnny Mathis – vocals George Avakian – producer Percy Faith – arranger.
Helen Forrest was an American singer of traditional pop and swing music. She served as the "girl singer" for three of the most popular big bands of the Swing Era, thereby earning a reputation as "the voice of the name bands." Forrest was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey on April 12, 1917. Her parents and Rebecca Fogel, were Jewish, her father died from influenza when Helen was an infant so she was raised by her mother, who blamed her husband's death on Helen's birth. She believed. Helen had three older brothers: Harry, Ed, Sam. In Helen's early teen years, the family relocated to Brooklyn, her mother married a house painter. Soon, Helen's mother and stepfather turned the family's home into a brothel. At 14, Helen was nearly raped by her stepfather. Following this, Helen's mother permitted her to live with her piano teacher, Honey Silverman, her family. While teaching her piano, Honey noticed Helen's singing ability and encouraged her to focus on singing instead. Anxious to find a career in singing, Helen dropped out of high school to pursue her dream.
Forrest began singing with her brother Ed's band. She soon returned to New York City, where she visited song publishers and performed an audition for a 15-minute slot for a local radio show. Around this time, Forrest was encouraged to change her name from "Fogel" because her name sounded "too Jewish." In 1934, 17-year-old Forrest began singing for WNEW in New York. She performed for WCBS where she was known as “Bonnie Blue” and “The Blue Lady of Song.” She found a singing job at the Madrillon Club, in Washington, D. C. where she performed for two years. After seeing Forrest at the Madrillon, bandleader Artie Shaw asked her to go on tour with him. Helen was hired in 1938. For a time she and Holiday were both working with Shaw's band. In some venues, African-American performers were required to remain off stage; when Forrest became aware of this, she stated that like Holiday, she would not take the stage until she was to sing. She recorded 38 singles with Shaw's band. Two of her biggest hits with Shaw were the songs "They Say" and "All the Things You Are."
During her time with Shaw, Helen Forrest became a national favorite. In November 1939, Shaw broke up his band. Helen joined Benny Goodman in December 1939, with whom she recorded a number of celebrated songs, including the hit song "The Man I Love." Helen recorded 55 studio recordings with Goodman. She told the Pop Chronicles radio series: "Benny would look right above your eyebrows, in the middle, right on top of the brow, he was a strange man." Forrest stated, "The band I joined was sensational, but few special arrangements were written for me. I sang choruses, made myself fit to the music. Benny used to drive me crazy by'noodling' behind me on clarinet while I sang." Goodman was reported to have been a perfectionist and a difficult man to work with. In August 1941, Forrest quit the orchestra "to avoid having a nervous breakdown". After leaving Goodman, Forrest recorded with Nat King Cole and Lionel Hampton. In 1941, she approached Harry James, offering to work for him under one condition: that she be permitted to sing more than one chorus.
Although James was looking for a more jazz-oriented singer, he allowed Forrest to audition. The band voted her in and she was hired. Several decades Forrest explained in an interview, "Harry James was wonderful; when I joined him, I said,'There's only one condition: I don't care how much you pay me, I don't care about arrangements. The one thing I want is to finish it. I want to do verses, so don't put me up for a chorus in the middle of an instrumental.' He said,'You got it,' and, it." She told writer George T. Simon, "I'll always remain grateful to Artie and Benny, but they had been featuring me more like they did a member of the band like another instrumental soloist. Harry, gave me just the right sort of arrangement and setting that fit a singer, it wasn't just a matter of my getting up, singing a chorus, sitting down again." In his book, The Big Bands, Simon explained that Harry James constructed "the arrangements around his horn and Helen's voice, establishing warmer moods by slowing down the tempo so that two, instead of the usual three or more choruses, would fill a record...many an arrangement would build to a closing climax during Helen's vocal, so that she would emerge as its star."
It was with the Harry James Orchestra that Helen recorded what are arguably her most popular numbers, including "I Had the Craziest Dream" in 1942, 1941's "I Don't Want to Walk Without You." In 1942, Helen appeared with the Harry James Band in the Hollywood film Springtime in the Rockies, starring Betty Grable. In 1942 and 1943, Helen Forrest was voted the best female vocalist in the United States in the Down Beat poll. Forrest left Harry James in late 1943 in pursuit of a solo career, saying "three years with a band is enough." She signed a recording contract with Decca and co-starred with Dick Haymes on The Dick Haymes Show on CBS radio from 1944 to 1947. Helen's first Decca disc, "Time Waits For No One", reached second place on the Hit Parade, the radio show achieved top ratings. Haymes was contracted to Decca, from 1944 to 1946 the pair recorded 18 duets, 10 of them reaching the Top Ten. Successful were their versions of "Long Ago and Far Away", "It Had To Be You", "Together", "I'll Buy That Dre
Horace Ward Martin Tavares Silver was an American jazz pianist and arranger in the hard bop style that he helped pioneer in the 1950s. After playing tenor saxophone and piano at school in Connecticut, Silver got his break on piano when his trio was recruited by Stan Getz in 1950. Silver soon moved to New York City, where he developed a reputation as a composer and for his bluesy playing. Frequent sideman recordings in the mid-1950s helped further, but it was his work with the Jazz Messengers, co-led by Art Blakey, that brought both his writing and playing most attention, their Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers album contained Silver's first hit, "The Preacher". After leaving Blakey in 1956, Silver formed his own quintet, with what became the standard small group line-up of tenor saxophone, piano and drums, their public performances and frequent recordings for Blue Note Records increased Silver's popularity through changes of personnel. His most successful album was Song for My Father, made with two iterations of the quintet in 1963 and 1964.
Several changes occurred in the early 1970s: Silver disbanded his group to spend more time with his wife and to concentrate on composing. The last two of these were combined, resulting in commercially unsuccessful releases such as The United States of Mind series. Silver left Blue Note after 28 years, founded his own record label, scaled back his touring in the 1980s, relying in part on royalties from his compositions for income. In 1993, he returned to major record labels, releasing five albums before withdrawing from public view because of health problems; as a player, Silver transitioned from bebop to hard bop by stressing melody rather than complex harmony, combined clean and humorous right-hand lines with darker notes and chords in a near-perpetual left-hand rumble. His compositions emphasized catchy melodies, but also contained dissonant harmonies. Many of his varied repertoire of songs, including "Doodlin'", "Peace", "Sister Sadie", became jazz standards that are still played, his considerable legacy encompasses his influence on other pianists and composers, the development of young jazz talents who appeared in his bands over the course of four decades.
Silver was born on September 1928, in Norwalk, Connecticut. His mother, was from Connecticut, she sang in a church choir. Horace had a much older half-brother, Eugene Fletcher, from his mother's first marriage, was the third child for his parents, after John, who lived to 6 months, Maria, stillborn. Silver had classical music lessons, his father taught him the folk music of Cape Verde. At the age of 11 Silver became interested in becoming a musician, after hearing the Jimmie Lunceford orchestra, his early piano influences included the styles of boogie-woogie and the blues, the pianists Nat King Cole, Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, Art Tatum, Teddy Wilson, as well as some jazz horn players. Silver graduated from St. Mary's Grammar School in 1943. From ninth grade he played Lester Young-influenced tenor saxophone in the Norwalk High School band and orchestra. Silver played gigs locally on both tenor saxophone while still at school, he was rejected for military service by a draft board examination that concluded that he had an excessively curved spine, which interfered with his saxophone playing.
Around 1946 he moved to Connecticut to take up a regular job as pianist in a nightclub. Silver's break came in 1950, when his trio backed saxophonist Stan Getz at a club in Hartford: Getz liked Silver's band and recruited them to tour with him; the saxophonist gave Silver his recording debut, in December 1950, for a quartet album. After about a year, Silver was replaced as pianist in Getz's band and he moved to New York City. There, working as a freelance, he built a reputation, based on his compositions and bluesy playing, he worked for short periods with tenor saxophonists Lester Young and Coleman Hawkins, before meeting altoist Lou Donaldson, with whom he developed his bebop understanding. Donaldson made his first recording on Blue Note Records in 1952, with Silver on piano, Gene Ramey on bass and Art Taylor on drums; that year, another Blue Note quartet session was booked for Donaldson, with Art Blakey replacing Taylor, but the saxophonist withdrew and producer–owner Alfred Lion offered Silver the studio time for a trio recording.
Most of the tracks recorded at it were Silver originals, he went on to stay with Blue Note as a leader for the following 28 years. Silver was busy recording as a sideman. In 1953, he was pianist on sessions led by Sonny Stitt, Howard McGhee, Al Cohn, the following year, he played on albums by Art Farmer, Miles Davis, Milt Jackson and others. Silver won the Down Beat critics' new star award for piano players in 1954, appeared at the first Newport Jazz Festival, substituting for John Lewis in the Modern Jazz Quartet. Silver's early 1950s recordings demonstrate that Powell was a major pianistic influence, but this had waned by the middle of the decade. In New York and Blakey co-founded the Jazz Messengers, a cooperatively-run group that recorded under various leaders and names, their first two studio recordings, with Hank Mobley on tenor saxophone, Kenny Dorham on trumpet, Doug Watkins on bass, were made in late 1954 and early 1955 and were released as two 10-inch albums under Silver's name soon thereafter as the 12-inc
Dexter Gordon was an American jazz tenor saxophonist. He was one of the first players of the instrument in the bebop idiom of musicians such as Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell. Gordon's height was 6 feet 6 inches, so he was known as "Long Tall Dexter" and "Sophisticated Giant", his studio and performance career spanned over 40 years. Gordon's sound was characterized as being "large" and spacious and he had a tendency to play behind the beat, he was known for humorously inserting musical quotes into his solos, with sources as diverse as popular tunes, "Happy Birthday", the operas of Wagner. This is not unusual in common-practice jazz improvisation, but Gordon did it enough to make it a hallmark of his style. One of his major influences was Lester Young. Gordon, in turn, was an early influence on Sonny Rollins. Rollins and Coltrane influenced Gordon's playing as he explored hard bop and modal playing during the 1960s. Gordon was known for his humorous stage presence, he was an advocate of playing to communicate with the audience.
A photograph by Herman Leonard of Gordon taking a smoke break at the Royal Roost in 1948 is one of the iconic images in jazz photography. Cigarettes were a recurring theme on covers of Gordon's albums. One of his idiosyncratic rituals was to recite lyrics from each ballad before playing it. Gordon was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance in the Bertrand Tavernier film Round Midnight, he won a Grammy for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, for the soundtrack album The Other Side of Round Midnight, he had a cameo role in the 1990 movie Awakenings. In 2019, Gordon's album Go was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Recording Registry for being "culturally or aesthetically significant". Dexter Keith Gordon was born on February 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. Gordon played clarinet from the age of 13, before switching to saxophone at 15. While still at school, he played in bands with such contemporaries as Chico Hamilton and Buddy Collette. Between December 1940 and 1943, Gordon was a member of Lionel Hampton's band, playing in a saxophone section alongside Illinois Jacquet and Marshal Royal. During 1944 he was featured in the Fletcher Henderson band, followed by the Louis Armstrong band, before joining Billy Eckstine; the 1942–44 musicians' strike curtailed the recording of the Hampton and Armstrong bands. In 1943 he was featured, alongside Harry "Sweets" Edison, in recordings under Nat Cole for a small label not affected by the strike. By late 1944, Gordon was resident in New York and a featured soloist in the Billy Eckstine big band, during early 1945 he was featured on recordings by Dizzy Gillespie and Sir Charles Thompson.
By late 1945 he was recording under his own name for the Savoy label. His Savoy recordings during 1945-46 included Blow Mr. Dexter, Dexter's Deck, Dexter's Minor Mad, Long Tall Dexter, Dexter Rides Again, I Can't Escape From You, Dexter Digs In, he returned in Los Angeles in late 1946 and in 1947 was leading sessions for Ross Russell's Dial label. After his return to Los Angeles, he became known for his saxophone duels with fellow tenorman Wardell Gray, which were a popular concert attraction documented in recordings made between 1947 and 1952; the Hunt gained literary fame from its mention in Jack Kerouac's On The Road, which contains descriptions of wild tenormen jamming in Los Angeles. Cherokee, Byas a Drink, Disorder at the Border are other live recordings of the Gray/Gordon duo from the same concert as The Hunt. In December 1947, Gordon recorded again with the Savoy label. Through the mid-to-late 1940s he continued to work as a sideman on sessions led by Russell Jacquet, Benny Carter, Ben Webster, Ralph Burns, Jimmy Rushing, Helen Humes, Gerry Mulligan, Wynonie Harris, Leo Parker, Tadd Dameron.
During the 1950s, Gordon's recorded output and live appearances declined as heroin addiction and legal troubles took their toll. Gordon made a concert appearance with Wardell Gray in February 1952 and appeared as a sideman in a session led by Gray in June 1952. After an incarceration at Chino Prison during 1953-55, he recorded the albums Daddy Plays the Horn and Dexter Blows Hot and Cool in 1955 and played as a sideman on the Stan Levey album, This Time the Drum's on Me; the latter part of the decade saw him in and out of prison until his final release from Folsom Prison in 195