Monday Recommendation: Kenny Dorham


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Kenny Dorham, Quiet Kenny (Original Jazz Classics)

Dorham was of the generation of trumpet players indebted to Dizzy Gillespie. As his playing gained individuality in the late forties, he developed into one of the trumpet’s great melodic improvisers. His rhythm section here is pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Arthur Taylor. A few months earlier in 1960, they accompanied John Coltrane in his watershed “Giant Steps” session. The CD contains Dorham originals and five standard songs. His readings of the melodies of “My Ideal,” “I Had the Craziest Dream,” “Old Folks” and “Mack the Knife” conjure up the lyrics almost as surely as if he were singing them. Then, he proceeds to create melodies that equal or surpass the originals. “Alone Together” consists of Dorham playing the melody one time. His only improvisation is ten seconds of gentle declension at the end. It’s a magical performance.

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This story appears courtesy of Rifftides by Doug Ramsey.
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