Gordon, Frank

views updated

Gordon, Frank

Gordon, Frank, jazz trumpeter and composer; b. Milwaukee, Wise., Sept. 27, 1938. After graduating high school (1957) he went to N.Y. to study with Donald Byrd who, along with Cannonball Adderley, convinced him to go back to Milwaukee and enroll in the Univ. of Wise. (1963). He moved to Chicago (1966) and studied at Roosevelt Univ., where he completed a bachelor’s degree (1970); he subsequently earned a master’s at Governors State Univ. in Park Forest, 111. (1977). During these years in Chicago he joined the AACM and studied with Byrd, Bunky Green, Eddie Harris, and Muhal Richard Abrams (the last intermittently through 1985). He moved to N.Y. to join the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Band (1976). He has recorded and/or toured in North America, Europe, Mexico, and Cuba with Harris, Abrams, Lena Home, Illinois Jacquet, Charli Persip, Art Blakey, David Murray, Hank Mobley, Charlie Haden, Clifford Jordan, Quincy Jones, the Duke Ellington band, Sam Rivers, and his own groups. He won four NEA grants to present concerts of his music; in November 1997 three of his compositions, commissioned by the AACM, were premiered by the S.E.M. String Ensemble in N.Y. He was a founding member of Ebony Brass. He has taught trumpet at Rutgers Univ. (from 1992) and the New School for Social Research. His clear and logical improvisation recalls Clifford Brown; his skilled composition for strings as well as jazz combos bears the influences of Wayne Shorter, Debussy, and Bartok. In 1999 he moved to Savannah, Ga. He appears in the films Texas Tenor: The Illinois Jacquet Story; The Cotton Club; Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Live at the Domicile; and Lena Home on Broadway.


Clarion Echoes (1985). M. Roach: And the So What Brass Quintet. Ebony Brass Quintet: Brand New Bag. E. Harris: Excursions. C. Persip: Superband; Superband II. T. Jones/M. Lewis Orch.: It Only Happens Every Time; Live in Munich.

—Lewis Porter