Our man in Denmark.

Whoever is responsible for that horrific cover of “All You Need Is Love” that’s in the new Blackberry commercial deserves to be shot. In the penis. Sixteen times. Not only is it a generally abysmal musical performance, but the song is in 7/4 time, while this soulless cover version squeezes the music into a standard 4/4 arrangement, which just sounds…wrong. Shameful.

In less depressing news, did you know Dexter Gordon had a small part in Awakenings? I didn’t. I hadn’t seen the movie in years, and the last time I saw it I didn’t even know who Dex was. I saw it was on TV last night. Turned it on around the halfway point and thought I’d give it a watch in spite of my “never watch a movie you really want to see unless you catch it from the beginning” philosophy. I kept noticing the patient who never says a word but seems to have music in his head always, and reveals himself to be a brilliant musician when he finally sits down at a piano, and I knew I recognized his face. He looked kind of like Tom Waits’s darker-skinned brother.

I kept thinking of Dexter Gordon. But I told myself it couldn’t be. He would have been dead by then.

Imagine my surprise when I checked IMDb and learned it really was Dexter after all. Those are probably the last moments of his life ever captured on film. He died eight months before the movie was released.

As great as he was as a leading man in Round Midnight — where he’s essentially playing himself, but he had such an interesting self to play, he feels more authentic and perfect than any “professional” actor could have been in the part — he creates a really interesting and unique little character in Awakenings with maybe a total of ten minutes of screen time (if that), using only body language and facial expressions. I like that guy.

He wasn’t a bad sax player, either.

I like how the rhythm briefly takes on a Latin lilt at the seven minute mark before going back to swinging. Those guys could COOK. It’s a shame the performance is truncated by YouTube’s flexible ten-minute rule.

I don’t know how the people in the audience could just sit there without even jiving. If I ever saw a performance like that in a club, you can bet I’d be dancing.

2 comments

  1. Apparently he got the nickname “The Panther” because he had a habit of moving his tongue from side to side at the end of a performance. It’s too bad the video cuts out before that can happen. Damn you, YouTube! Damn your tongue censorship!

    I like how Dexter always got this huge tone on the sax. Even when he wasn’t playing anything flashy, it just sounded big and luscious. Roger Ebert of all people made the observation that musicians who play wind instruments eventually get to a point where they speak and play with the same voice…and Dex had quite the voice.

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