McKinley Howard "Kenny" Dorham (August 30, 1924 – December 5, 1972) was an American jazz trumpeter, singer, and composer. Dorham's talent is frequently lauded by critics and other musicians, but he never received the kind of attention or public recognition from the jazz establishment that many of his peers did. For this reason, writer Gary Giddins said that Dorham's name has become "virtually synonymous with underrated." Dorham composed the jazz standard "Blue Bossa", which first appeared on Joe Henderson's album Page One.
Kenny Dorham at the Metropole Hotel in Toronto, 1954.
|Birth name||McKinley Howard Dorham|
|Born||August 30, 1924|
Fairfield, Texas, U.S.
|Died||December 5, 1972 (aged 48)|
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Genres||Jazz, bebop, mainstream jazz, hard bop|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, bandleader, composer|
|Associated acts||Art Blakey, Joe Henderson, Sonny Rollins, Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, Abbey Lincoln, Hank Mobley, Max Roach, Horace Silver|
Dorham was one of the most active bebop trumpeters. He played in the big bands of Lionel Hampton, Billy Eckstine, Dizzy Gillespie, and Mercer Ellington and the quintet of Charlie Parker. He joined Parker's band in December 1948. He was a charter member of the original cooperative Jazz Messengers. He also recorded as a sideman with Thelonious Monk and Sonny Rollins, and he replaced Clifford Brown in the Max Roach Quintet after Brown's death in 1956. In addition to sideman work, Dorham led his own groups, including the Jazz Prophets (formed shortly after Art Blakey took over the Jazz Messengers name). The Jazz Prophets, featuring a young Bobby Timmons on piano, bassist Sam Jones, and tenorman J. R. Monterose, with guest Kenny Burrell on guitar, recorded a live album 'Round About Midnight at the Cafe Bohemia in 1956 for Blue Note.
In 1963 Dorham added the 26-year-old tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson to his group, which later recorded Una Mas (the group also featured a young Tony Williams). The friendship between the two musicians led to a number of other albums, such as Henderson's Page One, Our Thing and In 'n Out. Dorham recorded frequently throughout the 1960s for Blue Note and Prestige Records, as leader and as sideman for Henderson, Jackie McLean, Cedar Walton, Andrew Hill, Milt Jackson and others.
Dorham's later quartet consisted of some well-known jazz musicians: Tommy Flanagan (piano), Paul Chambers (double bass), and Art Taylor (drums). Their recording debut was Quiet Kenny for the Prestige Records' New Jazz label, an album which featured mostly ballads. An earlier quartet featuring Dorham as co-leader with alto saxophone player Ernie Henry had released an album together under the name "Kenny Dorham/Ernie Henry Quartet." They produced the album 2 Horns / 2 Rhythm for Riverside Records in 1957 with double bassist Eddie Mathias and drummer G.T. Hogan. In 1990 the album was re-released on CD under the name "Kenny Dorham Quartet featuring Ernie Henry."
During his final years Dorham suffered from kidney disease, from which he died on December 5, 1972, aged 48.
On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Kenny Dorham among hundreds of artists who recorded for record labels whose master recordings were reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.
- 1953: Kenny Dorham Quintet (Debut)
- 1955: Afro-Cuban (Blue Note)
- 1956: 'Round About Midnight at the Cafe Bohemia (Blue Note)
- 1956: And The Jazz Prophets Vol. 1 (ABC-Paramount ABC-122)
- 1957: Jazz Contrasts (Riverside) featuring Sonny Rollins
- 1957: 2 Horns / 2 Rhythm (Riverside) featuring Ernie Henry
- 1958: This Is the Moment! (Riverside)
- 1959: Blue Spring (Riverside) with Cannonball Adderley
- 1959: Quiet Kenny (New Jazz)
- 1960: The Arrival of Kenny Dorham (JARO); reissued as The Kenny Dorham Memorial Album (Xanadu, 1976)
- 1960: Jazz Contemporary (Time)
- 1960: Showboat (Time)
- 1961: Whistle Stop (Blue Note)
- 1961: Inta Somethin' (Pacific Jazz)
- 1962: Matador (United Artists)
- 1963: Una Mas (Blue Note)
- 1963: Scandia Skies (SteepleChase)
- 1963: Short Story (SteepleChase)
- 1964: Trompeta Toccata (Blue Note)
With Toshiko Akiyoshi
- Toshiko at Top of the Gate (1968)
With Dave Bailey
- Bash! (Jazzline, 1961) - reissued as Tommy Flanagan Trio And Sextet (Onyx/Xanadu, 1973) and under Dorham's name as Osmosis (Black Lion, 1990)
With Andy Bey
- Andy and the Bey Sisters (1959)
With The Birdland Stars
- On Tour (2 volumes, RCA Victor 1956)
With Art Blakey
- The Jazz Messengers at the Cafe Bohemia Volume 1 (1955)
- The Jazz Messengers at the Cafe Bohemia Volume 2 (1955)
With Rocky Boyd
- Ease It (1961; aka West 42nd Street)
With Tadd Dameron
- Fontainebleau (1956)
With Lou Donaldson
- Quartet/Quintet/Sextet (1954)
With Matthew Gee
- Jazz by Gee (Riverside, 1956)
With Herb Geller
- Fire in the West (Jubilee 1957, Josie 1962); That Geller Feller (Fresh Sound, 2003)
With Benny Golson
- The Modern Touch (Riverside, 1957)
With Barry Harris
- Bull's Eye! (Prestige, 1968)
With Joe Henderson
With Ernie Henry
With Andrew Hill
- Point of Departure (1964)
With Milt Jackson
With Clifford Jordan
With Harold Land
- Eastward Ho! Harold Land in New York (Jazzland, 1960)
With Abbey Lincoln
With Jackie McLean
- Vertigo (Blue Note, 1962)
With John Mehegan
- Casual Affair (1959)
With Gil Mellé
- Gil's Guests (1956)
With Helen Merrill
- You've Got a Date with the Blues (MetroJazz, 1959)
With Hank Mobley
With Thelonious Monk
- Genius of Modern Music: Volume 2 (Blue Note, 1952)
With Oliver Nelson
- Meet Oliver Nelson (New Jazz, 1959)
- Zodiac (1968)
With Cecil Payne
With Oscar Pettiford
- The Oscar Pettiford Orchestra in Hi-Fi Volume Two (ABC-Paramount, 1957)
With Max Roach
- Max Roach + 4 (EmArcy, 1956)
- Jazz in ¾ Time (EmArcy, 1957)
- The Max Roach 4 Plays Charlie Parker (EmArcy, 1958)
- MAX (Argo, 1958)
With Sonny Rollins
- Moving Out (Prestige, 1954)
- Rollins Plays for Bird (Prestige, 1956)
- Sonny Boy (Prestige, 1956 )
With A. K. Salim
- Pretty for the People (Savoy, 1957)
With Horace Silver
- Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers (Blue Note, 1954)
With Cecil Taylor
- Hard Driving Jazz (1958)
With Cedar Walton
- Cedar! (Prestige, 1967)
With Randy Weston
- Live at the Five Spot (United Artists, 1959)
With Barney Wilen
- Barney (1959)
- Un Temoin Dans La Ville (1959)
With Phil Woods
- Pairing Off (1956)
- Freeman, Phil (January 15, 2013). "Spotlight: Doing the Philly Twist: Kenny Dorham's Whistle Stop". bluenote.com. Blue Note Records.
- Owens, Thomas (1996). Bebop. Oxford University Press. p. 111.
- Yanow, Scott (2000). Bebop. Miller Freeman Books. pp. 79–81. ISBN 0-87930-608-4.
- Listing of the 2 Horns/2 Rhythm album on Discogs.com, (accessed December 17, 2014).
- Rosen, Jody (June 25, 2019). "Here Are Hundreds More Artists Whose Tapes Were Destroyed in the UMG Fire". The New York Times. Retrieved June 28, 2019.