Dexter Gordon

image for Dexter Gordon
Exhibition Label
One of the bebop era’s top tenor saxophonists, Dexter Gordon earned praise as “a master of harmonic subtleties.” His career began when he joined Lionel Hampton’s orchestra at seventeen and later gained momentum during his tenure with Billy Eckstine’s formative band (1944–45). Collaborations with Charlie Parker followed, and soon Gordon was fronting his own trio and making a series of popular recordings. He worked principally as a freelance musician from 1946 to 1952 and gained notoriety by engaging in celebrated “duels” with fellow saxophonist Wardell Gray. But in the wake of two drug-related incarcerations in the 1950s, Gordon saw his performing opportunities evaporate in this country. In 1962 he left for Europe, where he lived and worked for the next fourteen years. Warmly welcomed when he returned to the United States for a concert tour in 1976, Gordon ended his exile and settled here permanently the following year.
Dexter Gordon fue uno de los principales saxofonistas tenores de la era del bebop, un “maestro de las sutilezas armónicas”. Comenzó su carrera a los diecisiete años con la orquesta de Lionel Hampton y continuó su ascenso con la seminal banda de Billy Eckstine (1944–45). A esto siguieron colaboraciones con Charlie Parker y pronto logró tener su propio trío y grabar una serie de discos que fueron muy populares. Trabajó sobre todo como músico independiente entre 1946 y 1952, haciéndose notorio por sus celebrados “duelos” con el colega saxofonista Wardell Gray. No obstante, a raíz de dos encarcelamientos por motivo de drogas en la década de 1950, sus oportunidades en Estados Unidos se esfumaron. En 1962 se trasladó a Europa, donde vivió y trabajó durante los catorce años siguientes. Al regresar a Estados Unidos en una gira de conciertos en 1976, Gordon recibió una cálida acogida y puso fin a su exilio. Al año siguiente se radicó de nuevo en su país de manera permanente.
Artist
Herman Leonard, 1923 - 2010
Sitter
Dexter Keith Gordon, 27 Feb 1923 - 25 Apr 1990
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
© Herman Leonard Photography LLC
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
1948 (printed 1998)
Object number
NPG.2014.111.13
Topic
Interior
Costume\Headgear\Hat
Equipment\Smoking Implements\Cigarette
Music\Musical instrument\Saxophone
Music\Sheet music
Nature & Environment\Smoke
Dexter Keith Gordon: Male
Dexter Keith Gordon: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Horn\Saxophonist
Portrait
Medium
Selenium-toned gelatin silver print
Dimensions
Image: 40.8 × 32.7cm (16 1/16 × 12 7/8")
Sheet: 50.4 × 40.5cm (19 13/16 × 15 15/16")
Frame: 71.8 × 56.5 × 3.8 cm (28 1/4 × 22 1/4 × 1 1/2")
National Portrait Gallery
Type
Photograph