Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon (Biography)

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Foreword by Farah Jasmine Griffin
Afterword by Woody Louis Armstrong Shaw III
Release Date: November 6, 2018

Hard Cover: 284 Pages
Publisher: University of California Press, First Edition

Maxine Gordon is an independent scholar with an illustrious lifetime career working with the world's most iconic jazz musicians. As an oral historian and archivist in the fields of jazz and African American cultural history, Sophisticated Giant fulfills the promise she made to her late husband, jazz saxophonist and Academy Award-nominated actor Dexter Gordon, to complete his biography.

Sophisticated Giant presents the life and legacy of tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon (1923–1990), one of the major innovators of modern jazz. In a context of biography, history, and memoir, Maxine Gordon has completed the book that her late husband began, weaving his “solo” turns with her voice and a chorus of voices from past and present. Reading like a jazz composition, the blend of research, anecdote, and a selection of Dexter’s personal letters reflects his colorful life and legendary times. It is clear why the celebrated trumpet genius Dizzy Gillespie said to Dexter, “Man, you ought to leave your karma to science.”

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