27 February 1923, Los Angeles, California, USA, d. 25 April 1990, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Gordon began his musical career studying clarinet; by his mid-teens he had switched to tenor saxophone, on which instrument he played with Lionel Hampton in 1940. He stayed with Hampton for a little over two years, recording with the band and gaining in stature so that no less an artist than Coleman Hawkins could nominate him, in 1941, as one of his favourite tenor players. Gordon then worked with Lee Young, his own small group, Fletcher Henderson, Louis Armstrong and Billy Eckstine. By late 1944 Gordon had absorbed many of the new developments in jazz and his exposure to numerous eager beboppers in the Eckstine band soon won him over completely. In the next few years he played frequently on both the east and west coasts, comfortably ignoring the artificial but effective dividing line in the bop of the early 50s. Amongst his playing partners of this period was Wardell...
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