Dexter Gordon

How can we distance ourselves from convenient situations to allow ourselves to see fresh perspectives?

In this installment of Liner Notes with Rabbi and jazz historian Neil Blumofe, we learn about jazz saxophonist Dexter Gordon, one of the originators of the bebop sound. For much of his career, Gordon played in Europe and merged his sound with the nascent European jazz movement.



Jazz & The Art of Movement

Where do we consider being at home? When do we feel that we belong in a place and how quickly can we become dispossessed? In its essence, jazz traces various migrations – some arbitrary, some forced, and some chosen – and beyond appropriation and broad-stroke caricature, reveal difficult truths of identity, well-being, and honest relationship.

Through the artistry of Miles, Monk, and Mingus, both critique and imagination of the American melting pot will be explored – lessons crucial to our current navigation of the difficulties of migration, refugees, and asylum-seeking in our land. What is native land – and beyond the symbols demanding our loyalty, what consistently makes America, great?

Listen back to Views and Brew: Jazz and The Art of Movement recorded live at the historic Cactus Cafe in Austin, Texas, with Rabbi and Jazz Historian Neil Blumofe in conversation with Rebecca McInroy. Featuring: Michael Malone, saxophone; Andre Hayward, trombone; Red Young, piano; Scott Laningham, drums.

Oscar Pettiford (1.31.16)

In this edition of Liner Notes, Rabbi and jazz historian Neil Blumofe talks about the life and legacy of bassist, cellist, and composer Oscar Pettiford.

Red Rodney (9.27.15)

Red Rodney was an American bebop and hard bop trumpet player who made came up with mentors like Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. In his lifetime he saw much hardship, including the loss of his wife and daughter in a car accident, and the loss of many of his contemporaries in the jazz world.

In this edition of Liner Notes, Rabbi and jazz historian Neil Blumofe talks about what it means to be a “survivor”, and how jazz, and specifically bebop, allows us to confront oppression through resistance, revolution, and reckoning.

Dexter Gordon (3.29.15)

Dexter Gordon was an American jazz saxophone player, who helped to cement the bebop style post Charlie Parker and others.  He spent most of his career playing, composing and recording in Europe, as it was a more, “harmonious” place to live and create.

In this edition of Liner Notes, Rabbi and jazz historian Neil Blumofe, talks about what the life and legacy of Dexter Gordan can teach us about exploration, diversity, and acceptance.

Miles Davis (5.25.14)

Miles Davis is considered one of the most innovative and influential musicians of the 20th century. He added his voice to the narratives of our culture at significant points, and offered a perspective which considered the sanctity of silence in each moment. In this edition of Liner Notes Rabbi Neil Blumofe acknowledges what Miles Davis can teach us through this approach, not only in music but in our daily lives.

V&B: Coleman Hawkins and The Art of Failure

Coleman Hawkins, the great saxophone player, helped to establish jazz as a stand alone art form, distinguished from swing — the popular music of the day. With his originality, lyricism, and his keen sense of appreciating the latest trends, his work was the influence and foundation for bebop and the most expressive jazz ballads. And yet, what is the dearest price given for the artist who expresses his art?

Join Rabbi Neil Blumofe and KUT’s Rebecca McInroy for conversation and superlative live music recorded live at the Cactus Cafe in Austin, Texas. It was an evening dedicated to discovering jazz and appreciating the beauty of this incredible and accessible American art form.


Shelly Carrol, saxophone

Ephraim Owens, trumpet

Red Young, piano

Roscoe Beck, bass

Brannen Temple, drums

V&B: Thelonious Monk and The Art of Hesitation

Thelonious Monk is an original and unique voice in the shaping and the sound of American music. Both his compositions and his inimitable piano playing continue to confound and resound decades after their inception, bringing us to ask questions — how far can one go when listening to your own muse? Does the artist have a responsibility to instruct while creating? Can art just be enjoyed or does it have to vex to be effective? When looking to swing, how important is rhythm? What is said in the silences? These are the questions we set out to explore during what proved to be an inspirational night of ideas and music at the Cactus Cafe.

Listen to some of the highlights from the event with KUT’s Views and Brews Remix featuring Rabbi Neil Blumofe in discussion with KUT’s Rebecca McInroy along with musicians Rich Harney (piano) Roscoe Beck (bass) Brannen Temple (drums) and Sam Lipman (Saxophone) and special guest Ephraim Owens (trumpet).

Charlie Parker (12.15.13)

American jazz saxophonist and composer Charlie Parker crafted the sound that was eventually called bebop. This deeply soulful music gave him and other musicians a way to express themselves in original ways. Parker’s addiction to heroine unfortunately cut his life short at just 34 years old. He died in the hotel room of his friend Nica.