Deborah Brown

Deborah & Max
The Life and Times of Dexter Gordon

8 p.m. Friday, March 13, 2020 | Polsky Theatre

Tickets starting at $25

Individual Tickets 5+ Event Season Package 8+ Event Season Package New

NOTE: Free Movie Screening on March 5 and Free Book Discussion with author Maxine Gordon on March 12.


A singer’s singer, Kansas City-produced Deborah Brown builds off elements of Kansas City music where there’s a mixture of bebop jazz and Chicago blues. Her rollercoaster vocal range mixes effortlessly with her scat singing and experimental jazz beat.


Featuring Deborah Brown, vocals, and the Montez Coleman Trio

8 p.m. FRIDAY, MARCH 13
Carlsen Center, Polsky Theatre

With a powerful sound, Kansas City-produced jazz singer Deborah Brown will mesmerize you with the musical compositions of Dexter Gordon and the standard compositions of his day. The show was put together with the endorsement of Maxine Gordon, Dexter’s widow and author of his biography, Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon.

The Montez Coleman Trio, based in St. Louis, performs with special guest Greg Tardy, on staff at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Tardy is a devotee of Dexter Gordon’s music, and Deborah Brown, Kansas City’s own, will sing songs from 'Round Midnight, a 1986 film directed by French filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier in which Gordon starred. Gordon’s performance was nominated for an Oscar. 


Film Screening

'Round Midnight - A film directed by Bertrand Tavernier
5:30 p.m. THURSDAY, MARCH 5
CoLab (OCB 100)
FREE and open to the public

Inside the Blue Note nightclub one night in 1959 Paris, an aged, ailing jazzman coaxes an eloquent wail from his tenor sax. Outside, a young Parisian too broke to buy a glass of wine strains to hear those notes. Soon they will form a friendship that sparks a final burst of genius in the fading musician. Set to Herbie Hancock’s superb Academy Award-winning Best Original Score, this is an elegant ode to bebop – the technically demanding jazz that blossomed during the postwar era – and to the expatriate black Americans who created, nurtured and lived it. Directed by Bertrand Tavernier and showcasing tenor sax great Dexter Gordon in a remarkable, Oscar-nominated performance (1986, 131 Minutes, Rated R). Snacks and drinks provided. Free and open to the public.


A Conversation with Maxine Gordon,
Author of Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon

Noon THURSDAY, MARCH 12
JCCC CoLab (OCB 100)
FREE and open to the public

Dexter Gordon was an indisputable jazz legend when he died in 1990 at age 67. An iconic and dashing bebop hero of the 1940s, he also made some of the defining jazz albums of the 1960s for Blue Note Records. He'd made a new life in Europe and then returned triumphant to New York, reaching a new tier of prominence — the kind that garners a nomination for Best Actor at the Academy Awards.

Maxine Gordon, widow of Dexter Gordon and author of his biography, Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon, returned to college to learn how to research properly. Her already vast knowledge of jazz is apparent in her writing, and the book, published in late 2018, has already garnered several accolades, including the 2019 Book of the Year Award by the Jazz Journalists Association. Free and open to the public. Books will be for sale, and Mrs. Gordon will sign.