One of the great trumpet voices of the bebop era, Kenny Dorham played with most of the giants of the music in the '40s and '50s, then went on to moderate success leading his own combos through the '60s.
Born Aug. 30, 1924, in Fairfield, Texas, Dorham took piano lessons from the age of 7, then shifted to trumpet in high school in Austin. He entered the Army in 1942, where he was on the boxing team, and starting playing with Russell Jacquet in 1943. From the mid to late '40s he worked with Billy Eckstine, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton and Mercer Ellington, then was the replacement for Miles Davis in Charlie Parker's combo for several years.
Dorham played around New York City in the early '50s, then became one of the founding members of the Jazz Messengers. He later replaced Clifford Brown in Max Roach's combo when Brown was killed in a car crash. Dorham continued to lead his own groups (including one that featured Joe Henderson) and worked and recorded on his own and with others until his death due to kidney failure Dec. 5, 1972. His best recordings include Whistle Stop and Una Mas for Blue Note and Jazz Contemporary for Time.
-- Will Smith
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