Dexter Gordon

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Woody Shaw, the groundbreaking trumpeter, would have turned 75 on Dec. 24.

Though he was born in North Carolina, Woody grew up in Newark from age one — eventually studying classical trumpet at Cleveland Junior High School and  jazz at Arts High. So it’s only fitting that the anniversary of his birth would occasion official proclamations from both Mayor Ras Baraka and Gov. Phil Murphy. And of course, only appropriate that we’d celebrate his music at WBGO. 

George Lederer

We know it can be hard to shop for the jazz fan in your life. Especially in this day and age — when so much of our music arrives in digital form, or through a streaming service. So in this Holiday Gift Guide edition of Take Five I gathered 15 new releases, from throwback to ultramodern, that are well worth savoring as physical objects. 

university of california press

Dexter Gordon was an indisputable jazz legend when he died in 1990, at 67. An iconic and dashing bebop hero of the 1940s, he had also made some of the defining Blue Note albums of the 1960s. He'd made a new life in Europe and then returned triumphant to New York, reaching a new tier of prominence — the kind that garners a nomination for Best Actor at the Academy Awards.

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Feeling Good with WBGO — that's the theme of our fall fund drive, which kicks off this Friday. We'll be focusing on the music that makes our listeners feel good, and celebrating the ways that it brings us together. As a build-up to the drive, here's a special edition of Take Five featuring feel-good tracks curated by our announcers, ranging from throwback classics to hot-off-the-press new releases. 

Elemental Music

Tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon and trumpeter Woody Shaw hailed from two different jazz generations, but found common purpose in the music.

Now each artist has a new album on the near horizon, featuring vibrant live performances largely recorded in Japan, and previously unreleased. Dexter Gordon Quartet Tokyo 1975 and Woody Shaw Tokyo 1981 are both due out on July 13, in CD and LP editions, from Elemental Music. 

Hear five standouts, handpicked by a few of WBGO's announcers. And don't miss our on-air holiday programming blitz, which kicks in on Christmas Eve. Stay tuned for a lot of swinging holiday music, and a few surprises.

Celebrating the Cool and Humor of Dexter Gordon

Feb 21, 2017

"Long Tall" Dexter Gordon is one of the best known and significant musicians on his instrument: he was one of the first tenor saxophonists to adopt the bebop style, and influenced players such as John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins. Gordon's widow and former manager-producer, Maxine Gordon, and saxophonist Abraham Burton join Morning Jazz host Gary Walker to discuss the man and his music.

Old and new, invention and reinvention: this week, Take Five is a study in contrast and dualities. It's also a heads-up for several albums we're looking forward to this spring, and some gigs that you should have on your calendar. Listen up and dive in.