A full week of the compositional brilliance of Kenny Dorham led by Don Sickler on trumpet with a "K.D." All-Star rhythm section, Ronnie Mathews, Ron Carter, and Kenny Washington.
Don Sickler (trumpet) - Don's passion for K.D.'s music began while he was still a high school student in Spokane, Washington. It was therefore a thrill when he got the opportunity to play and arrange for one of K.D.'s favorite drummers: Philly Joe Jones. Joe often reminisced about the tune "Philly Twist" which was written for Jones and appeared on the K.D. Blue Note release, Whistle Stop. Don has particularly been attracted to the depth of K.D.'s writing. As he told Michael Cuscuna, "I became intensely fascinated with his concept of writing for the whole band, giving every musician a role." Don had the honor to both play and arrange for Art Blakey's Mt. Fuji appearances (Art Blakey Big Band). Art was delighted to play Don's arrangement of "Minor's Holiday" - Blakey was on K.D.'s first two recordings of this title. As a leader, producer and arranger, Don has featured K.D.'s music on numerous recording sessions including his own The Music of Kenny Dorham--Reservoir RSR CD 111 and Nightwatch--Uptown UPCD 27.39 in addition to recordings by Roy Hargrove, T.S. Monk, Red Rodney, Ralph Moore and many others. Second Floor Music, Don's jazz publishing company, has also published many combo and big band arrangements as well as a piano book of K.D.'s compositions that were arranged by the late Walter Davis Jr., another strong advocate for K.D.'s music.
Ronnie Mathews (piano) - A top-notch soloist and accompanist, Ronnie became associated with K.D. in the early sixties when he was writing tunes like "Windmill" which Ronnie regards as one of Kenny's greatest achievements as a composer. Ronnie has also recorded with Dexter Gordon, Louis Hayes, Freddie Hubbard, Lee Morgan, Max Roach and Woody Shaw among others.
Ron Carter (bass) - For forty years, Ron has been at the forefront of modern jazz appearing as a leader or sideman on approximately 500 recording sessions and numerous performances. Ron recorded with K.D. under Rocky Boyd's leadership (Ease It Jazztime JT1001), Milt Jackson (Invitation Riverside LP 446), and Toshiko Akiyoshi (At Top of the Gate Columbia 10008CT). Ron also appeared on Don's Reservoir release, The Music of Kenny Dorham RSR CD 111.
Kenny Washington (drums) - Although much too young to have played with K.D., Kenny (Washington) is a true K.D. scholar. He's aware of every twist, turn and nuance these compositions exhibit. Aside from being one of the best straight-ahead jazz drummers in New York, having worked with Betty Carter, Johnny Griffin, Lee Konitz and Jimmy Smith, Kenny has an encyclopedic knowledge of the jazz tradition socially, historically, and musically.
Plus added special guest artists nightly:
Tuesday, August 24 "TROMPETA TOCCATA": A Trumpet Players' Tribute to Kenny Dorham.
Both Freddie Hubbard and Woody Shaw felt Kenny Dorham's music was a must for their two mid-80s collaborations which Don Sickler arranged. The two-trumpet front-line will again be the focus tonight, as the group will be joined by a very special surprise guest artist many consider the finest young jazz trumpet player of his generation. The K.D. compositions "Lotus Blossom," "Sao Paulo," and "Afrodisia" are among many which will be explored by the quintet.
Wednesday, August 25 "UNA MAS" WITH K.D.: An Evening of Sextet Music.
Don Sickler, 1999 Down Beat magazine's critics poll winner in the Arranger Deserving Wider Recognition category, has arranged Dorham's music for many recording projects. Tonight will feature his and Dorham's sextet arrangements as Don and the rhythm section are joined by Blue Note recording artist and tenor saxophonist Mark Shim and another major talent certainly deserving wider recognition, alto saxophonist Bobby Porcelli. This evening will also be the reunion of Don, Bobby, and Ronnie Mathews, original members of the T.S. Monk Sextet which recorded classic K.D. compositions such as "Monaco," "Minor's Holiday," and "Una Mas."
Thursday, August 26 THE JAZZ MESSENGERS TO THE JAZZ PROPHETS:
The Hank Mobley / J.R. Monterose years.
In the mid-1950s Kenny was a co-founder of the legendary group The Jazz Messengers that included Hank Mobley, Horace Silver, Doug Watkins and Art Blakey. By 1956, Kenny put together his own unit, The Jazz Prophets, with J.R. Monterose on tenor saxophone. Tonight's performances will highlight this vital period of Kenny's compositional creativity and will feature another newcomer to the New York jazz scene, tenor saxophonist Jimmy Greene. A recent member of the Horace Silver quintet, Jimmy was also one of the winners of the 1996 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition.
Friday, August 27 K.D.'s "ESCAPADE" The Joe Henderson years.
The emphasis of this evening's performances will be on Kenny's collaboration with tenor giant Joe Henderson. In the span of just seventeen months, Kenny and Joe made five recording sessions for Blue Note that are all considered essential by musicians and modern jazz fans alike. Mark Shim will return for a second night playing such K.D. favorites as "Blue Bossa," "La Mesha," Back Road," "Escapade," "Pedro's Time," "Una Mas," "Straight Ahead," "Short Story," "Brown's Town," "The Fox," and "Night Watch." Mark is fast becoming one of the most sought-after young tenor players on the current scene having been a favorite of the late Betty Carter and also a former member of the Mingus Big Band.
Saturday, August 28 "AS I LIVE AND BREATHE": The Kenny Dorham Songbook.
Tonight's featured artist will be vocalist Roberta Gambarini who arrived from Italy last fall to become one of the winners in the 1998 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocal Competition. Roberta will sing Kenny's lyrics to his compositions as well as new lyric treatments to many more K.D. classics. Although she's only been in the states a short while, Roberta has come to the attention of many jazz artists including master drummer Billy Higgins, who featured her in January at The Jazz Standard with The True Blue All-Stars. Roberta's impeccable phrasing, amazing ability to scat, and her vocalized interpretations of Kenny's solos will make this evening's performances a rewarding night of discovery.
Sunday, August 29 "BLUES IN BEBOP": The Charlie Parker Years.
The last night of the K.D. festival also marks the birthday of Charlie Parker. This evening will be a celebration of the years that Kenny was associated with Bird. Making a rare New York appearance, the tenor saxophonist Ralph Moore (Tonight Show) will join the group presenting Kenny's earliest compositions as well as other "bop" classics that Kenny performed with Bird. At midnight there will be cake and champagne to mark the celestial conjunction of the birthdays of these two creative forces. Look for surprise guests dropping in via the Charlie Parker festival to help make this celebration an event to remember. Don't miss it!
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