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Sat, 08.30.1924

Kenny Dorham, Musician born

Kenny Dorham

*On this date in 1924, "Kenny" Dorham was born.  He was a Black jazz trumpeter, bandleader, singer, and composer.  

McKinley Howard "Kenny" Dorham was born in Fairfield, TX.  He began playing trumpet in high school, attended Wiley College (Marshall, Texas), and was on a U.S. Army boxing team in 1942.  Dorham was one of the most active bebop trumpeters ever.

He played in the big bands of Lionel HamptonBilly EckstineDizzy 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 died in 1956. In addition to sideman work, Dorham led his 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 tenor man 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 several other albums, such as Henderson's Page One, Our Thing, and In 'n Out. Dorham frequently recorded throughout the 1960s for Blue Note and Prestige Records as a leader and as a 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 that featured mostly ballads.

An earlier quartet featuring Dorham as co-leader with alto saxophone player Ernie Henry released an album named "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 "Kenny Dorham Quartet featuring Ernie Henry."  Critics and other musicians frequently laud Dorham's talent, but he never received the kind of attention or public recognition from the jazz establishment that many of his peers did.  Dorham composed the "Blue Bossa" jazz standard, first appearing on Joe Henderson's page One album.  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.  

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