|Jim Gordon's musical life started years before he was born. His father's family was all musicians.
This is the Gordon family band in the 1930's, at their nightly radio braodcast on KFBB. Left-to right: Nellie Gordon, James Austin Gordon, Jack Gordon, James Franklin Gordon, Ruth Gordon, Claude Gordon, Ivan Jones (announcer). Jim Gordon's father is James Franklin Gordon.
|Claude Gordon (above) became a renowned trumpet player and educator. He wrote several books about brass playing. Whenever you see "I Love Lucy" on TV, that's Claude Gordon playing trumpet.|
Jim Gordon started playing the piano at 2, studied piano formally at 5. Started playing clarinet at 11, and
started working as a professional musician at 14, and played professionally all thru high school. During these
years he was active in electronics, had an amateur radio license, and built a number of electronic devices for music.
Studied arranging and composition with Bob Soder, graduated from high school in 1955. Moved to L.A., got a scholarship to the L.A. Conservatory of Music, and recorded a jazz piano album for Delcro Records, "Garden Party". Studied clarinet, saxophone and flute with William Green. Studied composition and arranging with Marty Paich and Paul Weirick.
|In 1958 Gordon started doing record dates and playing with local L.A. night club
Picture is from the Tailspin Club in Hollywood in 1960, with Don Schraier's band.
|In 1967 recorded an album of experimental pop music for Cream Records, "Jim Gordon Plays Heavy",
using tiny electro-acoustic drums. Jack Diamond at KFJC-FM (Northern California) sometimes plays
tracks from it.
The picture is the bottom view of the bass drum, about eight inches wide.
In 1970 was on a concert tour/train trip/party with Delaney & Bonnie, Janis Joplin, The Band, The Grateful Deal, Buddy Guy and others. Check out the Festival Express movie.
|Did lots of sessions playing, arranging, conducting and producing in the '60s and '70s, a
"studio musician". Recorded with early Moog synthesizers, and even with a
"poor man's Moog" (a Heathkit oscillator, a telegraph key, and a Fender amplifier).
During the 70's and 80's worked as an engineer for Stereo Masters (studio) and as a producer for Warner Brothers.
Picture is from a recording session in the '70s.
|In 1975 Gordon designed and built an experimental percussion synthesizer (pictured). It not only
created percussion sounds, but also measured timing of musical events. Accuracy was to one microsecond.
The synthesizer was demonstrated at the 1977 Southern Calfornia Computer Society Computer Music Symposium. John Chowning and Leland Smith from Stanford also spoke.
On the front page of the May 8th 1977 L.A. Times Calendar section, writer David Barry wrote an article about Gordon and the synthesizer. During this time Gordon was involved with the Harry Partch ensemble at UCLA, and also spent time with microtonal expert and enthusiast Ivor Darreg.
|1976: In the Last Waltz
Movie with The Band, playing saxophone, clarinet and flute in the horn section.
Picture is the backstage pass from the Last Waltz movie.
|Post card from Phil Spector after recording the "Rock 'n' Roll" album with John Lennon.|
Here's a partial list of people that Gordon has recorded with:
Jesse Ed Davis,
|In 1980 Gordon left Hollywood, moved to Orange County, CA and became a full-time computer software
developer and consultant. In 1990 became active in music again, although with goals different
than those of the Hollywood years. Built a studio and began producing his own music.
Picture is in studio with Clora Bryant.