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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
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: The Complete 'Round About Midnight At The Cafe Bohemia

Disc 1

2. Autumn In New York (Live)

4. N.Y. Theme (Live)

5. K.D.'s Blues (Live)

6. Hill's Edge (Live)

7. A Night In Tunisia (Live)

9. Royal Roost (Live)

Disc 2

1. Mexico City (Live)

2. 'round About Midnight (Live)

3. Monaco (Live)

4. Who Cares? (Live)

5. My Heart Stood Still (Live)

6. Riffin' (Live)

8. The Prophet (Live)

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Track List: Whistle Stop

1. 'Philly' Twist

2. Buffalo

3. Sunset

4. Whistle Stop

5. Sunrise In Mexico

6. Windmill

7. Dorham's Epitaph

x

Track List: Quiet Kenny

1. Lotus Blossom

2. My Ideal

3. Blue Friday

4. Alone Together

5. Blue Spring Shuffle

6. I Had The Craziest Dream

7. Old Folks

8. Mack The Knife

x

Track List: Jazz Contrasts

1. Falling In Love With Love

2. I'll Remember April

3. Larue

4. My Old Flame

5. But Beautiful

6. La Villa

x

Track List: Afro-Cuban

1. Afrodisia

2. Lotus Flower

3. Minor's Holiday

4. Minor's Holiday (Alt. Take)

5. Basheer's Dream

6. K.D.'s Motion

7. La Villa (1955)

8. Venita's Dance

9. K.D.'s Cab Ride

x

Track List: Kenny Dorham Quintet

1. An Oscar For Oscar

2. Ruby, My Dear (Take 2)

3. Be My Love (Take 2)

4. Ruby, My Dear (Take 1)

5. Osmosis

6. I Love You

7. Darn That Dream (Take 1)

8. Darn That Dream (Take 2)

9. I Love You (Take 2)

10. Chicago Blues

11. Lonesome Lover Blues

x

Track List: Trompeta Toccata

1. Trompeta Toccata

2. Night Watch

3. Mamacita

4. The Fox

x

Track List: Una Mas

1. Una Mas (One More Time)

2. Straight Ahead

3. Sao Paulo

4. If Ever I Would Leave You

Comments

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While I appreciate the Padora Jazz experience, I can't help but feel that it still lacks an important element to enjoying this music. It's missing the album notes on each track. It's always been a part of the communicatio n experience between jazz music lovers. We love to know who is playing on each track so we can develop our ears for our favorite artists sound. I can identify whenever "Bird" or "Prez" are on sax because I've read the track notes and then listened and learned to hear their style
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j.p.l.1
I "gots" the blues today, feeling like this song.

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Just got my mindblowin' introduction entrance of Kenny Dorham into my Jazz lexicon/awar e n e s s . His sound compelled me to learn more about the producer of it. Beautiful music celebrate, teaches, and nurtures the craft simulaneousl y ! Thanks Pandora Guide! #BeautifulMu s i c S t u d e n t
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thanks Tom Mott, you said I perfectly.
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True musical artistry is never strained, forced, awkward. It just flows naturally and smoothly into the air and lands softly on the ear, on its way to ones soul. Thank you for reminding us of these things, Kenny Dorham, and enjoy a big hats off” ovation and salute.
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paulcampagno l i
An unsung master
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droovie
He's brilliant. I can't believe I haven't known his work until now. Thanks to those who curate jazz for Pandora for introducing me to Mr. Dorham.
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Sweet indeed!!!
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Michael A. Missiras, Ph.D.
Trumpet/Corn e t / C o m p o s e r
NYC/ arctic1974@g m a i l . c o m

Of all the bop and post bop trumpet players KD is remembered as the leader of the entire pack. Unfortunatel y , this consensus did not occur in his lifetime.
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One of the most important trumpet players of the 20th Century. He was the transitional figure that bridged bop to post bop trumpet playing.

Michael Missiras
Cornet/Compo s e r
NYC arctic1974@g m a i l . c o m
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Ah hell, I'm still adrift in the 50's & 60's with my music likes - jazz and rock&roll. Kenny's one of the truly great bebop horns.
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front runner super cool easy listen to one of the best
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Kenny D, Lee Morgan, Freddie Hubbard....a l l Blue Note masters in that era. When Miles was experimentin g . , , a n d to me disappointin g , they all held the bebop torch's aloft AND swinging!!
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Smart!
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Kenny has been my influence as a Trmpet player. His touch and approach to phrasing is among the best in the world. I wish everyone play ballads like that...
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smooth...
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love this song! and love Kenny. probably my favorite jazz trumpet player after Clifford Brown.
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Tasty!
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aldersonw
A great player and beautiful cat........t e l l s special stories...to n e , t o u c h i n g
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KENNY HAS HIS OWN SOUND !!!!����☺️��
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Beautiful anytime
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daniellorent e 9 1
Beautiful for a rainy day.
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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!
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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.......... .
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on a 2nd listening--d e f i n i t e l y an ultra-cool, highly underrated horn-player!
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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!
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THIS SOUND SPEAKS TO ME...AND SOMETIMES IT USES 'WORDS' .
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Smoooth
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Lest we forget~
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Modern Jazz at it's very finest!!! Recordings such as this marked an interesting time in American Classical music..
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what a great surprise is kenny dorham. has a mellow sound not too unlike clifford brown.
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A wonderful and under-rated trumpeter... l o v e to have chops like that!!
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Kenny Dorham on La Villa - Sounds like the lusty tone of a Martin Committe Trumpet there. Schweet! (Cee Rex)
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duhtrash
McKinley Dorham... one of my favorites! Loved him on the album Coltrane Time.
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love it to death
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Kenny is one of my trumpet heroes. Truly brilliant and underrated.
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I fux wit Kenny... Interesting story, Ms Malin
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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
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Kenny is a great player
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Wow Mrs Malin...What an opportunity of a lifetime. Afro-Cuban and Una Mas are my favorite albums of his.
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oh isee kenny passed in 1972 too bad amazing music
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another great musician. is he still alive. hope so
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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.
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fine music! I play this for my classroom... They love it!
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klinnear
Nice and easy!
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aramona3
Kenny has always been a favorite of mine, and that cut is a perfect example.
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clyderhythm
also a great friend to Miles Davis.
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stevenschwar z 2 3
Wow.
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mooyoo.77
great! great! that ole-jazz feeling(clas s i c )
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awesomelimit e d
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