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Celebratory "Round Midnight" Film Event Acclaimed By Philadelphia City Council

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Dexter Gordon
On Sunday, March 24, as part of the Dexter Gordon worldwide 90th birthday celebration, “Dexter @ 90,” the International House presented an uncut screening of the iconic jazz film “Round Midnight” with an in-person appearance by Dexter Gordon’s widow, Maxine, an active jazz scholar and director of the Dexter Gordon Foundation. Maxine introduced the film and, with WRTI DJ Bob Perkins, led a discussion after the screening. Perkins hosted the occasion, which was followed by a reception for Ms. Gordon. All About Jazz contributor Victor L. Schermer presented her with a certificate of merit, highlighting her contributions to jazz, the musicians, research, and scholarship.

The event co-sponsors—International House Philadelphia, All About Jazz, the Dexter Gordon Society, and the Jazz Bridge—were surprised and gratified when a woman in the audience came up to Maxine and read a Commendation from the City Council of Philadelphia, citing the event as a contribution to the city’s cultural and artistic heritage.

Ms. Gordon had arrived in town on that Thursday to be interviewed on Perkins' radio show. On Friday, she lunched at Rouge on Rittenhouse Square with Schermer, guitarist Chuck Anderson and his wife Coreen, and Deena Adler, who works with saxophonist Odean Pope. With trumpeter Terrell Stafford, she is co-founder of the new Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia. Ms. Gordon stayed with friends and family, some of whom are relatives of Dexter Gordon. She loves Philadelphia and considers it a “second home.” Judging from the response to the film event and her talk, Maxine Gordon is well-loved and appreciated here as well.

Bassist Warren Oree and his partner at Lifeline Music Coalition, Graziella DiNuzzo Damelio, were present at the film showing, along with other musical notables. Oree will head up a concert honoring Dexter Gordon on June 21st as part of the Arpeggio Jazz Ensemble series at the Woodmere Art Museum. Maxine Gordon will be present on that occasion, which is also part of the worldwide celebration of Dexter Gordon’s 90th Birthday.

[Round Midnight (dir. Bertrand Tavernier, France/US, 1986) stars legendary jazz saxophonist Dexter Gordon as an expatriate jazz musician living in Paris in the 1950s. Director Bernard Tavernier creates a moving tale of an unlikely friendship and life in post-WWII Paris and New York, backed with a musical soundtrack featuring Herbie Hancock, who received an Oscar for the score. Dexter Gordon was nominated for an Academy Award as best leading actor for his portrayal of Dale Turner, whose life story was based on legendary jazz artists Lester Young and Bud Powell.

Dexter Gordon was born on February 27, 1923 and died in Philadelphia in 1990. Celebrations commemorating Dexter's 90th birthday are scheduled for Paris, Copenhagen, New York, and many other cities.

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