Maxine Gordon

Maxine Gordon draws on her own background as an independent jazz scholar, along with having been married to the late legendary jazz saxophonist Dexter Gordon, for the rich, revelatory work she has written that is Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon (University of California Press).

“What began as a solemn promise to Dexter Gordon to finish writing the story of his life is now an extraordinary gift to those of us who are the fortunate readers of Sophisticated Giant. Maxine Gordon’s rigorously researched, jazz-inflected, genre-bending account of the many dimensions of this prodigious life—from small intimacies,  musical and personal, to major social issues, such as racism, drugs, and mass incarceration—is an occasion to appreciate Dexter’s resounding musical genius as well as his wish for major social transformation.”—Angela Y. Davis.

Sophisticated Giant tells a story from Buffalo Soldier to bebop, from Madagascar to Cuba! Maxine Gordon sheds light on the remarkable career and family history of Dexter Gordon, one of America’s most unique and misunderstood talents. When you talk about ‘cool,’ Dex lived it!”—Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Co-presented with EARSHOT JAZZ (

Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon Cover Image
ISBN: 9780520280649
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: University of California Press - November 6th, 2018

Sunday, March 10, 2019 - 3:00pm
The Elliott Bay Book Company
1521 Tenth Avenue
Seattle, WA 98122
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