Died: April 26, 1990 // Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
One of the most important tenor saxophonists to emerge during the bebop era. Gordon was initially inspired by Lester Young, but his intense playing and rich sound reflect the influence of Herschel Evans and Illinois Jacquet, big-toned tenor players of the 1930s and 1940s. Gordon, in turn, went on to be a major inspiration to the next generation including Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane. Gordon's distinctive style included his humorous habit of quoting themes from other songs in solos and a tendency towards extended treatments of songs that sometimes lasted 20 minutes. After his Blue Note debut in 1961 on, Doin' Allright (with Freddie Hubbard and Horace Parlan) he recorded several classic albums for the label including, Go! (with Sonny Clark and Billy Higgins), Our Man in Paris (with Bud Powell, Kenny Clarke and Pierre Michelot) and One Flight Up (with Donald Byrd and Kenny Drew).