Dexter Gordon Photo Group, ca. 1950
Appraised Value: $15,000 (2013)
IMAGE: 1 of 13
Bebop to Copenhagen
In the 1960s, bebop innovator Dexter Gordon gravitated to Copenhagen — a city full of jazz clubs, thick with talent, and a public hungry to hear this new form of American classical music.
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Appraisal Video: (3:11)
GUEST: This photo of Duke Ellington was given to my grandmother and my father when he was a teenager. My grandfather used to be the doctor of Duke Ellington and he passed away and I guess he dedicated this photo to my father and my grandmother. And my father ended up being a jazz musician years later. So, we're fortunate to have this.
APPRAISER: You're going to have to elaborate. So, who is your father?
GUEST: My father is Dexter Gordon.
APPRAISER: So your father is the Dexter Gordon.
GUEST: Famous tenor player and innovator of the bebop era who has influenced John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins. He's a fantastic jazz musician. In the '80s he made this movie called 'Round Midnight, which was based on a jazz musician living in Paris. From that movie, he was nominated for an Academy Award in 1987.
APPRAISER: And I think he actually... didn't he win the Grammy, as well?
GUEST: Yes, the album did win a Grammy, and also, Herbie Hancock, who composed the music for the film, also won an Academy Award for music.
APPRAISER: One of the things I love about you talking about your father... it depends on what era you're talking about, because he had so many lives as a musician and a professional career. He played his entire life. He had an exceptionally long career.
GUEST: Yeah, in the '60s, he did leave the States, too, and lived in Copenhagen and in Paris. In the '70s, he came back to the States and he made an album called Homecoming, which was recorded at the Village Vanguard, which brought him back to the States and created a whole new fan base for him. And in the '80s, you know, he was offered this movie project from famous French director named Bertrand Tavernier.
APPRAISER: So, we're talking about all these things. So many times we hear people say that they hope they have a national treasure, but your father really was a national treasure and he's a jazz legend that influenced so many musicians. But what we have in front of us, the Duke Ellington up there next to you, which is Duke Ellington signing it to your grandmother and to your father. And we have Sarah Vaughan, who wrote a really fun inscription to him. We have the Billie Holiday down there, that's written to your father, and we also have this one that is your father on the left, with Joe Lewis and Lionel Hampton. And one of the things I love about this photo, it's signed to your mother, actually.
GUEST: My father dedicated it to his mother, so... Because he was in his 20s at that time. So I have his signature, as well, his autograph.
APPRAISER: So, he signed this for his mother?
GUEST: Yes, my grandmother.
APPRAISER: And what I love about this photo is, one of his nicknames was Long Tall Dexter because he's 6'6". So he makes Lionel Hampton look exceptionally small in this photo.
GUEST: He was a little guy.
APPRAISER: He was little, and it's even dramatized by the fact that your father's 6'6". So, in terms of value, if we were putting a value on these, just, if they were signed to anybody, if it's Billie Holiday signing to someone that we don't know, it has one value. But the fact that they're signed to your father and he is who he is takes it to a completely different level. So, if you were to insure these, you would definitely want to insure them for no less than $15,000.
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