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The Art of the Ballad: Kenny Dorham

Kenny Dorham

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Album Review

Though the least celebrated of the artists featured in Fantasy's initial The Art of the Ballad offering, Kenny Dorham is by no means the most negligible, as this selection of ballads, augmented by some of the leading names in jazz demonstrates. However, with only six Dorham albums on Riverside, Debut and New Jazz to choose from, Fantasy had to turn elsewhere to fill out the CD, to sessions led by Ernie Henry, Oliver Nelson and Harold Land. Indeed, even on Dorham's own recordings, he doesn't always dominate — the most telling example being Cannonball Adderley's ardent solos that light up "It Might as Well Be Spring" and steal the show. Elsewhere, the listener will hear a number of Dorham's sounds — the big open sound of "Darn That Dream," the veiled, toned, fleetfingered hard bop Dorham of "Falling in Love with Love," the sweet muted work on Nelson's "Passion Flower," and various combinations of tone and articulation. No rarities; everything is available elsewhere on silver discs. ~ Richard S. Ginell, Rovi

Biography

Born: 30 August 1924 in Fairfield, TX

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s

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...
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