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The Music of Kenny Dorham

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Album Review

During a ten-year period before illness caused his premature retirement, trumpeter Kenny Dorham was a prolific recording artist and composer, though he has been unjustly overlooked for his songs. Trumpeter Don Sickler was asked to do a songbook of Dorham's music and looked over his entire output before selecting seven works; it was also Sickler's debut album as a leader. Accompanied by a formidable group of musicians, including tenor saxophonist Jimmy Heath (also a superb arranger, though his contributions aren't heard on this date), pianist Cedar Walton, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Billy Higgins, Sickler concentrates primarily on less frequently performed songs. The joyful spirit of "Spring Cannon" contrasts with the sauntering, darker "Escapade." But the most interesting track is the obscure, richly textured ballad "Blue Lament," recorded previously by Dorham for Blue Note but never issued. This fine tribute is easily recommended to hard bop fans.


Born: January 6, 1944 in Spokane, WA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Trumpeter and arranger Don Sickler made his initial splash in 1983, debuting with the LP The Music of Kenny Dorham. However, he then spent the next dozen years out of the spotlight, focusing instead on backing and producing artists including Freddie Redd, Larry Coryell, and Cindy Blackman. He also enjoyed a brief stint with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. Perhaps Sickler's most productive extended collaboration was with drummer T.S. Monk, whom he met at the Thelonious Monk Institute; a founding...
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The Music of Kenny Dorham, Don Sickler
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