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A year-long centennial project celebrates jazz icon Dexter Gordon

Dexter Gordon performs at the Charlie Parker tribute at Carnegie Hall in New York City on June 28, 1980.

Established in honor of jazz icon Dexter Gordon's 100th birthday on Feb. 27, 2023, the DEX100 centennial project will fill the coming year with live and virtual events in memory of Gordon.

A noted jazz tenor saxophonist, composer and bandleader from 1940 through the 1980s, Gordon was lauded in the U.S. and in Europe for his "big sound" and his sense of humor. His range included traditional jazz, swing, ballads and bebop.

Gordon received a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Fellowship in 1986. He was also nominated for an Academy Award for his portrayal of fictional jazz musician Dale Turner in Bertrand Tavernier's 1986 film "Round Midnight." He died of kidney failure in 1990 at age 67.

Maxine Gordon, the saxophonist's manager and and widow, published her definitive biography "Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon" in 2018.

Organized by The Dexter Gordon Society, the DEX100 project aims to celebrate and extend the impact of the jazz musician's life and work.

The centennial celebrations kicked off on Tuesday with a 24-hour special broadcast on WKCR, Columbia University's student-led radio station. On March 3, the arts council in Cambridge, Massachusetts will host a viewing of "Round Midnight."

DEX100 is accepting ideas and proposals for additional events and projects as part of the official program.

Among the planned centennial projects are a new book featuring material not included in his biography and digitizing items from his archive.

Originally from Detroit, Robin Lloyd has been presenting jazz, blues and Latin jazz on public radio for nearly 40 years. She's a member of the Jazz Education Network and the Jazz Journalists Association.
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