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Kenny Dorham
Written by Dan Miller

(1924-1972) One of the most uniquely personal voices in jazz, Kenny Dorham's beautiful improvisations played an important role in the evolution of the trumpet. His mastery of harmony and the subtle nuance of his phrasing set him apart from many of his contemporaries.

Like most of his generation, Kenny was initially inspired by Dizzy Gillespie. He worked and recorded with Billy Eckstine, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Kenny Clarke and Fats Navarro (Listen:Boppin' A Riff and Everything's Cool). KD came into his own with Charlie Parker (1948-1949). He accompanied Bird on his historically important trip to Paris in 1949, and recorded with Parker for Verve.

During the fifties, Kenny worked and recorded with Thelonious Monk (Genius of Modern Music Volume 2), Art Blakey (Café Bohemia Volumes 1 and 2), Max Roach (Max Roach Plus Four), Sonny Rollins (Rollins Plays for Bird) and Tadd Dameron (Fontaine Bleau). Lending his unique voice to a wide variety of groups, Kenny's sophisticated ideas are integral to some of the most seminal works of the era.

Throughout the sixties, KD frequently shared the front line with saxophonists Jackie McLean (Matador/Inta Somethin') and Joe Henderson (Una Mas). Dorham recorded numerous fine recordings for Prestige, Riverside and Blue Note that showcased not only his soulful, sophisticated improvisations, but his wonderful compositions as well.

He died in 1972 from kidney disease.


© 2002 Dan Miller
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