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“Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon” author discusses her enlightening experiences in the jazz world in Brilliant Corners

“Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon” author discusses her enlightening experiences in the jazz world in Brilliant Corners

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In an interview conducted for the most recent issue of Brilliant Corners, Maxine Gordon characterizes jazz as a complex and uniting art form, honoring specifically the memory of her late husband, Dexter Gordon. Sascha Feinstein, Ph.D., Robert L. and Charlene Shangraw Professor of English at Lycoming College, managing editor of Brilliant Corners, who conducted this interview in Dennis, Mass., on Aug. 16, led an insightful discussion exploring Gordon’s introduction to the jazz world, Gordon’s experiences with her husband, the publication of Gordon’s biography about her husband, and her opinions of jazz writing.

A former road manager and an independent scholar, Gordon boasts a lifetime career in the world of jazz. She worked with a number of distinguished jazz musicians, such as Gil Evans, Art Blakey, Johnny Griffin, Shirley Scott, and Woody Shaw, with whom she had a child, before meeting her husband, Dexter Gordon, in 1975. Gordon honored her late husband with the establishment of The Dexter Gordon Society, a nonprofit organization created to preserve their collective life’s work, as well as the publication of her biography, titled “Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon.”

In addition to Gordon, the Winter 2018 issue of Brilliant Corners includes a wealth of renowned writers, such as Brad Davis, the editor-in-chief of The Mockingbird; Robert Gibb, the recipient of the 2016 Marsh Hawk Press Poetry Prize, among others; and Lynn Pattison, the author of “tesla’s daughter,” “Walking Back the Cat,” and “Light That Sounds Like Breaking.” Hailed as an original American art form, jazz is essential to the American identity but is often overlooked by most. Brilliant Corners functions as a piece of educational literature that sparks awareness of the role of jazz in America, and its enlightening nature inspires submissions from outstanding poets, essayists, fiction writers, and photographers.

Brilliant Corners is a biannual journal that highlights an exceptional collection of literature and art pertaining to jazz. Founded in 1996, the journal bears strong ties to Lycoming College, with contributors such as Feinstein, who serves as the managing editor, and Gary Hafer, Ph.D., John P. Graham Teaching Professor of English at Lycoming College, who serves as the production design editor. Brilliant Corners is funded in part by the College, the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts, and private endowments.

A subscription costs $12 per year ($18 for international orders), and checks or money can be sent to Brilliant Corners, Lycoming College, 700 College Place, Williamsport, PA 17701. More information can be found at or on Brilliant Corners’ Facebook page.

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