Joe's one of our (Boston) boys. His career exemplified some of the larger themes of 50's trumpet playing: an early start, bop influence, big band experience, adaptability in various musical situations and on the down side: heroin addiction and early death.
Born 5/15/28, Gordon got early exposure to classical music through his mother, an amateur singer. He heard the Basie band, then a Coleman Hawkins/Don Byas group when he was a teen and signed on for a class in "modern music" at the New England Conservatory.
In his late teens, he worked on the railroads as a sandwich boy and jammed at various stops during layovers. His first formal gig was in 1947 with vibes player Pete Diggs in Akron(Pete Diggs?).
Boston's main man Sabby Lewis heard Joe in Boston and invited him into his big band. Joe's name got out there and in 1951 he played his first recording session with Boston alto player Charlie Mariano. Though it's tempting, I won't play "Tzoris" ("Pack Up Your Troubles in an old Kit Bag"). I'll play the title track, "Boston Uncommon." Personnel is: Charlie Mariano (as), Jim Clark (ts), George Myers (bar), Joe Gordon (t), Sonny Truitt (tb), Roy Frazee (p), Jack Lawlor (b), Gene Glennon (d):
It's a nice arrangement, right out of Birth of the Cool and the sound developing simultaneously on the West Coast. Gordon's solo is well-articulated and constructed, with nice little vibrato flourishes at the end of some phrases.