Kenny Dorham - 1924 - 1972
One of the great trumpet players of the bebop era, McKinley Howard (Kenny) Dorham was a part of the second wave of bop brass players that followed in the footsteps of Gillespie and which included Miles Davis and Fats Navarro. His style was more lyrical than Navarro's and more boppish than the studied Davis. He played with most of the giants of the music in the '40s and '50s, then went on to moderate success leading his own combos through the '60s. Born Aug. 30, 1924, in Fairfield, Texas, Dorham took piano lessons from the age of 7, then shifted to trumpet in high school in Austin. He entered the Army in 1942 and starting playing with Russell Jacquet in 1943. From the mid to late '40s he worked with Billy Eckstine, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton and Mercer Ellington, then was the replacement for Miles Davis in Charlie Parker's combo for several years. Dorham played around New York City in the early '50s, then in 1954, joined Horace Silver in the first edition of what later became Art Blakey's long running Jazz Messengers. He later replaced Clifford Brown in Max Roach's combo when Brown was killed in a car crash and he also played with Sonny Rollins and Charles Mingus. He vacillated between the bebop style of Max Roach's quartet and the new hard bop direction that Silver's Jazz Messengers were heading. Dorham perhaps reached his peak in the early 1960s when he continued to lead his own groups including one that featured Joe Henderson. He worked and recorded on his own and with others until his death. Universally admired by his contemporaries, his death from liver failure in December 1972 led unfairly to a decline in awareness of his stature as a fine modern musician.
Recommended recordings
Blues in Bebop Savoy
Opus De Bop Savoy
Quiet Kenny OJC
Jazz Contrasts OJC
Blue Spring (with Cannonball Adderley) OJC
West 42nd Street Black Lion
This is the Moment OJC
Matador / inta' Somethin' Blue Note 84460
Osmosis Black Lion
Una Mas Blue Note 21228
Kenny Dorham Quintet OJC
Afro Cuban Blue Note 46815
2 Horns 2 Rhythm OJC
Whistle Stop Blue Note 25646
Art of the Ballad Series OJC / Prestige
And the Jazz Prophets Chess
Check out Kenny Dorham's page at emusic for free MP3 downloads
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