“Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon is a creative telling of the life of Dexter Gordon, best known as one of the world’s greatest jazz musicians, but also a talented composer, writer, storyteller, and actor. Through this series of lovingly rendered sketches, impressions, and scenes there emerges from these pages a portrait of an artist in all of his beauty and complexity. This is not a conventional biography or autobiography, nor should it be. Contained herein we have a number of voices: Dexter’s; that of his widow and the book’s author, Maxine Gordon; the historical and journalistic record (including voices from the archive); and a community of fellow artists and friends. It is a creative, collective telling of a life too large to be contained by a straightforward, linear narrative. . . . To read Sophisticated Giant is to behold and share the love and generosity of spirit that animated him and that animates this telling of his life. Indeed, the world is a bit more beautiful for Dexter Gordon’s having been here. It is even more so because we have his story to listen to and learn from—an accompaniment to his musical body of work. For this we owe Maxine Gordon a debt of gratitude.”
—from the Foreword by Farah Jasmine Griffin, Director of the Institute for Research in African American Studies at Columbia University
There is a very rich store to draw from for musical accompaniment. Dexter Gordon’s recording archive is deep, including a previously unreleased recording which came out in July, but we’ve curated a few favorites and present them below for your listening pleasure.
You can also explore more on The Dexter Gordon Society YouTube channel. To ensure prompt reading of Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon, pre-order a copy now and save 30% with discount code 18W8495 (enter at checkout).