Special to the Tribune-Star
TERRE HAUTE —
Music by jazz saxophonist Dexter Gordon will be presented by the John Spicknall Jazz Trio at 2 p.m. Sunday in the recital hall of the Landini Center for Performing and Fine Arts at Indiana State University.
Gordon was an American jazz tenor saxophonist (1923-1990) and an Academy Award nominated actor (“Round Midnight,” 1986). Unlike some of his contemporary saxophonist titans, Gordon was an important composer of postbop tunes which, while revered by jazz performers, are little-known by jazz listeners.
The Trio, pianist John Spicknall, bassist Joe Deal, and drummer John DiCenso, will play six originals and three standards that Gordon often played in his performances in the United States and Europe.
He is regarded as one of the first and most important musicians to adapt the bebop musical language of people such as Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Bud Powell to the tenor saxophone. His studio and live performances are extensive and multi-faceted, spanning more than 50 years in recorded jazz history.
Gordon was born and grew up in Los Angeles, where his father was a doctor who counted Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton among his patients. Many would characterize Gordon’s sound as being “large” and spacious and his tendency to play behind the beat is discernible especially in medium tempo tunes. One of his major influences was Lester Young. Gordon, in turn, was an early influence on John Coltrane during the 1940s and 1950s. Coltrane’s playing, however, during his early period from the mid to late ’50s or early ’60s influenced Gordon’s playing from then onward. Similarities in their styles include their clear, strong, metallic tones, their tendencies to bend up to high notes, and their abilities to single-tongue and still swing. Gordon died of kidney failure in Philadelphia in 1990, at age 67.
Admission is free and attendance by campus and community members alike is encouraged. For more information, contact the ISU School of Music at (812) 237-2771.