Back in 1985-86 during my time in Oakland with Dupree/Sonny and the gang I went to see the movie "Round Midnight" with Dextor Gordon playing a down and out saxophone player named Dale Turner who was touring in France. In the movie Mr. Gordon who in real life was a world class jazz artist played a variant of his real life person. The movie story is about a young white man who admires and loves the Gordon characters music, he worships the man. He gets to meet his hero and tries to help him straighten out his life, he becomes a saviour of sorts.
When I watched the movie I empathized with the white dude character because in a way I was trying to do some of the same things with my friend Dupree. Loving his music, trying to understand his life, trying in my small way to help a bit. One day shortly after seeing the film I spoke to Dupree in Sonny's club "My Favorite Things". I told him about the movie and that we should go see it together. I had the naive idea that the movie would help change his destructive drug behaviour. Dupree asked what it was about. I told him it was a jazz movie about a saxophone player and that the story was about a young white man trying to help the older jazz musician, trying to help him through his drug addiction problem. I think I told him it stared Dextor Gordon, am pretty sure I did that.
When I told him the part about the white young guy trying to help the older jazz player, Dupree gave me a look, a look of surprise and a look of kindness (probably the closest moment we ever had). I think he made the connection I was hinting at, I the foreign white guy was trying to help him the older African American jazz player with an addiction problem just like the story line of the movie. At that moment Dupree knew I cared about him, knew how I felt about him. Maybe I am reading to much into a simple look but that is what I felt. There was something in his eyes I had never seen before, a softness. We never spoke of it again and never did see the moving together but I will always remember that short special exchange we had, an unforgettable memory.
So now the story takes its rather surprising turn. Today Sept. 22, 2016 I am sitting in my car before coming into work my security night shift. I open up the Dupree Bolton music CD "FIRE BALL" that I had just received. Inside the CD there was a 40 page booklet on Dupree's life. I flip through the pictures and there on page 31 is a 1982 photo of Dupree standing next to DEXTOR GORDON. Dupree knew the man! He knew Dextor Gordon the man who starred in "Round Midnight". He never told me! He no doubt played with Gordon at some point as the picture was made at Bianca's (jazz club?) in Oklahoma City. Heck they could have been best friends!
That just blew me away, the fact that Dupree had spent time with Dextor Gordon just 3 or 4 years before our conversation about going to see the film. Dupree was such a quiet guy, he kept everything so close to the vest, who knew? Life is strange sometimes, who knows what twists and turns it will take. Who knew 30 years later I would sit dumbfounded in my car on seeing the Dupree-Dexter photo.
I am happy that Dupree knew I cared, knew I worried about him and knew I wanted to help. I am happy to finally know and hear Dupree's real music. I am also happy to know that he played with some of the all time greats like Dextor Gordon.
Below is the trailer to the movie "Round Midnight" You can hear a bit of Dextor Gordon's tenor sax.
"Round Midnight" Starring Dextor Gordon