Kenny Dorham had a deeply moving, pure tone on trumpet; his sound was clear, sharp, and piercing, especially during ballads. He could spin out phrases and lines, but when he slowly and sweetly played the melody it was an evocative event. Dorham was a gifted all-round trumpeter, but seldom showcased his complete skills, preferring an understated, subtle approach. Unfortunately, he never received much publicity, and though a highly intelligent, thoughtful individual who wrote insightful commentary on jazz, he's little more than a footnote to many fans.
Dorham taught at the Lenox School of Jazz in 1958 and 1959, and wrote scores for the films Les Liaisons Dangereuses and Un Témoin dans la Ville in 1959. During the mid-'60s, he co-led a band with tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson that was shamefully neglected. There were such classic Blue Note releases as Whistle Stop, Una Mas, and Trumpet Toccata. Dorham made one album for Cadet in 1970, Kenny Dorham Sextet, with Muhal Richard Abrams. He died in 1972. Several of his Blue Note albums have been reissued, while his Prestige and Riverside dates have come out in sporadic fashion, some in two-record samplers. Other material for Pacific Jazz, United Artists, Steeplechase, Xanadu, and Time isn't as widely available. ~ Ron Wynn