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That Iconic Dexter Gordon Photo…

You’ve seen it – we know you have. One of the most iconic photos in the annals of jazz, it’s that black and white photo of Dexter Gordon sitting on stage, the smoke from his cigarette curling into the ceiling lights.

Taken by Herman Leonard at the Royal Roost Club in New York in 1948, the photo captures the mood and atmosphere of a jazz performance on any given night.

Leonard was a huge jazz fan. His photos included Charlie Parker, Ben Webster, Miles Davis, Billie Holliday and many others. “I took advantage of being a photographer to get myself into the clubs so I could sit in front of Charlie Parker. I got to listen to the music in person.”

We’re so glad he did!

The photo is featured on Gordon’s “Ballads” album and has been used countless times over the years. As we celebrate Dexter’s birthday today, we also celebrate this photo and it’s place in the lore of jazz!

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