Bob Gordon + Jack Montrose

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Bob Gordon
Bob Gordon was a fabulous West Coast baritone saxophonist whose brilliant jazz career was cut short at age 24 in a car accident. On August 28, 1955, Gordon and trumpeter Earl McCrea were driving to San Diego to play in a Pete Rugolo concert. Gordon's car was proceeding north on St. Andrew Place in Los Angeles when he was broadsided on the left side at Browning Blvd. by Emmett York, 22. Gordon was killed but McCrea, who complained of neck injuries, declined medical assistance. York was booked on suspicion of manslaughter, which back then was code for drunk driving. Gordon was survived by his wife and two young children.

Perhaps Gordon's finest recordings were with tenor saxophonist Jack Montrose. They appeared together on two albums under Montrose's name—Jack Montrose with Bob Gordon, recorded in May 1955, and the Jack Montrose Sextet, recorded in June and July 1955. The former was recorded for Atlantic and featured Jack Montrose (ts), Bob Gordon (bar), Paul Moer (p), Red Mitchell (b) and Shelly Manne (d). The latter was for Pacific Jazz and included Conte Candoli (tp), Jack Montrose (ts,arr), Bob Gordon (bar), Paul Moer (p), Ralph Pena (b) and Shelly Manne (d).

They also played together on Meet Mr. Gordon (May 1954), Gordon's sole leadership session. Virtually all of Gordon's sideman dates are terrific. He recorded with Jack Millman, Maynard Ferguson, June Christy, Les Brown, Clifford Brown, Pete Rugolo, Dave Pell, Tal Farlow, Zoot Sims, Lennie Niehaus and others.

JazzWax clips: Here's the entire album of Jack Montrose With Bob Gordon...



And here's Pretty featuring the Jack Montrose Sextet, with Bob Gordon...

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
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