Skip to Content ☰ Open Filter >>


Showing 1 of 4

Herman Leonard, American, (March 6, 1923–August 14, 2010)
Dexter Gordon, Royal Roost, New York City, 1948
Photographic materials on paper
14 in. x 11 in. (35.56 cm x 27.94 cm)

Object Type: Photography
Technique: Photography
Credit Line: Purchase, Scripps Collectors' Circle
Accession Number: 2012.2.7

The Royal Roost was originally a chicken eatery of little notoriety, but in 1948 jazz DJ Sid Torin (1909-1984) convinced the owner to begin hosting modern jazz bands. The club became an important venue for practitioners of the bebop style of jazz, giving the Royal Roost the nickname “The Metropolitan Bopera House.” Dexter Gordon (1923-1990) was one of these bebop regulars who came to define the restaurant’s impact on jazz. Here he sits, his saxophone framing his face, a plume of smoke rising from his lips. It’s impossible to tell from this picture, but Gordon Dexter was actually incredibly tall, standing at 6’ 6”. This photograph makes him approachable, allowing a private look into the jazz musician’s work, and making him a giant no longer, but a human being. Watching him take a smoke before playing reinforces this human quality; this is a moment of him engaging in a private vice, a moment of calm and respite before playing his exciting, energetic, wild set.

David Kuhio Ahia, PO ’18
Getty Multicultural Undergraduate Intern

silver gelatin photography

Keywords Click a term to view the records with the same keyword
This object has the following keywords:

Portfolio List Click a portfolio name to view all the objects in that portfolio
This object is a member of the following portfolios:

Your current search criteria is: Portfolio is "Photography" and [Objects]Display Artist is "Herman Leonard" and [Objects]Century is "20th c".