Dexter Gordon (February 27, 1923 – April 25, 1990) was an American jazz tenor saxophonist and an Academy Award-nominated actor (Round Midnight, Warner Bros, 1986). He is regarded as one of the first and most important musicians to adapt the bebop musical language of people like Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Bud Powell to the tenor saxophone. His studio and live performance career were both extensive and multifaceted, spanning over 50 years in recorded jazz history.
Gordon’s height was 6 feet 6 inches (198 cm), so he was also known as “Long Tall Dexter” and “Sophisticated Giant”. He played a Conn 10M ‘Ladyface’ tenor until it was stolen in a Paris airport in 1961. He then switched over to a Selmer Mark VI. His saxophone was fitted with an Otto Link metal mouthpiece, which can be seen in various photos.
In 1985, Dexter Gordon was named a member and Officer of the French Order of Arts and Letters by the Ministry of Culture in France, and was nominated for an Academy Award in 1986. He died on April 25, 1990, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.