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Kenny Dorham

Kenny Dorham had a deeply moving, pure tone on trumpet; his sound was clear, sharp, and piercing, especially during ballads. He could spin out phrases and lines, but when he slowly and sweetly played the melody it was an evocative event. Dorham was a gifted all-round trumpeter, but seldom showcased his complete skills, preferring an understated, subtle approach. Unfortunately, he never received much publicity, and though a highly intelligent, thoughtful individual who wrote insightful commentary on jazz, he's little more than a footnote to many fans.

Dorham studied and played trumpet, tenor sax, and piano. He was a bandmember in high school and college; a college bandmate was Wild Bill Davis. Dorham started during the swing era, but was recruited by Dizzy Gillespie and Billy Eckstine to join their bands in the mid-'40s. He even sang blues with Gillespie's band. He recorded with the Be Bop Boys on Savoy in 1946. After short periods with Lionel Hampton and Mercer Ellington, Dorham joined Charlie Parker's group in 1948, staying there until 1949. He did sessions in New York during the early and mid-'50s, making his recording debut as a leader on Charles Mingus and Max Roach's Debut label in 1953. He then cut Afro-Cuban for Blue Note with Cecil Payne, Hank Mobley, and Horace Silver in 1955.

Dorham was a founding member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers in 1954, and also led a short-lived similar band, the Jazz Prophets. Dorham played on the soundtrack of A Star Is Born in 1954, then spent two years with Max Roach from 1956 to 1958. There were dates for Riverside in the late '50s with Paul Chambers, Tommy Flanagan, and Art Taylor, plus other sessions with ABC-Paramount, three volumes for Blue Note done live at the Cafe Bohemia, and an intriguing but uneven session with John Coltrane and Cecil Taylor, Coltrane Time, in 1958.

Dorham taught at the Lenox School of Jazz in 1958 and 1959, and wrote scores for the films Les Liaisons Dangereuses and Un Témoin dans la Ville in 1959. During the mid-'60s, he co-led a band with tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson that was shamefully neglected. There were such classic Blue Note releases as Whistle Stop, Una Mas, and Trumpet Toccata. Dorham made one album for Cadet in 1970, Kenny Dorham Sextet, with Muhal Richard Abrams. He died in 1972. Several of his Blue Note albums have been reissued, while his Prestige and Riverside dates have come out in sporadic fashion, some in two-record samplers. Other material for Pacific Jazz, United Artists, Steeplechase, Xanadu, and Time isn't as widely available. ~ Ron Wynn, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Trompeta Toccata

Comments

Beautiful anytime
daniellorent e 9 1
Beautiful for a rainy day.
Maybe the most under-rated jazz trumpet player of all time. LOVE Kenny's sound - and especially love his albums, Afro-Cuban and Trompeta Toccata. This guy could play with the best of 'em!
Sometimes overlooked, if you love the likes of Brownie or Miles, then spend some time getting to know Kenny Dorham. Promise you won't regret it.......... .
on a 2nd listening--d e f i n i t e l y an ultra-cool, highly underrated horn-player!
This great ripple & riff , ballad-cares s i n g horn player deserved better recognition- - l e a s t we can do is honor him here--marvel o u s stuff!
THIS SOUND SPEAKS TO ME...AND SOMETIMES IT USES 'WORDS' .
Smoooth
1stchairflut e
Lest we forget~
Modern Jazz at it's very finest!!! Recordings such as this marked an interesting time in American Classical music..
what a great surprise is kenny dorham. has a mellow sound not too unlike clifford brown.
A wonderful and under-rated trumpeter... l o v e to have chops like that!!
Kenny Dorham on La Villa - Sounds like the lusty tone of a Martin Committe Trumpet there. Schweet! (Cee Rex)
duhtrash
McKinley Dorham... one of my favorites! Loved him on the album Coltrane Time.
love it to death
Kenny is one of my trumpet heroes. Truly brilliant and underrated.
I fux wit Kenny... Interesting story, Ms Malin
People ask me why I listen to jazz, and I tell them...becau s e I don't like people telling me what to do through my music. Especially if it aint what I want to hear...So you "throw ya hands up" "get down" and whatever they tell you to do...cause I aint doin it
Kenny is a great player
Wow Mrs Malin...What an opportunity of a lifetime. Afro-Cuban and Una Mas are my favorite albums of his.
oh isee kenny passed in 1972 too bad amazing music
another great musician. is he still alive. hope so
love album. Went to Una Mas recording session with "KD". was Tony's 1st.!! he was 16 yrs. old and asked me if he sounded ok!!!! A day I will never forget.
fine music! I play this for my classroom... They love it!
klinnear
Nice and easy!
aramona3
Kenny has always been a favorite of mine, and that cut is a perfect example.
clyderhythm
also a great friend to Miles Davis.
stevenschwar z 2 3
Wow.
mooyoo.77
great! great! that ole-jazz feeling(clas s i c )
awesomelimit e d
OVERSHADOWED FOR MOST OF HIS CAREER BY THE LIKES OF DIZZY GILLESPIE, FATS NAVARRO, MILES DAVIS, CLIFFORD BROWN, AND LEE MORGAN, KENNY DORHAM'S ABILITIES AS A COMPOSER AND UNIQUE VOICE AS AN ADVANCED BOP TRUMPET PLAYER ARE UNDERRATED TO THIS DAY.
How many times has Blue Bossa been recorded.Tha t tell you what kind of legacy he left.
His recording of "My Old Flame" from the Jazz Contrasts album is one of my favorites. If you haven't heard it, take a listen!
It's true that Kenny Dorham is from the old school of versatile musician,but
his musical style and improvasatio n s are still alive and well.
I like this guy's style a lot.
Overshadowed often but never outplayed.

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