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Kenny Dorham

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McKinley Howard (Kenny) Dorham (August 30, 1924 - December 5, 1972) was an American jazz trumpeter, singer, and composer born in Fairfield, Texas.

Dorham was one of the most active bebop trumpeters. He played in the big bands of Billy Eckstine, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton and Mercer Ellington and the quintet of Charlie Parker. He was a charter member of the original cooperative Jazz Messengers. He also recorded as a sideman with Thelonious Monk and Sonny Rollins, and he replaced Clifford Brown in the Max Roach Quintet after Brown’s death in 1956. In addition to sideman work, he led his own groups, including the Jazz Prophets (formed shortly after Art Blakey took over the Jazz Messengers name). The Jazz Prophets can be heard on the 1956 Blue Note live album Round About Midnight at the Cafe Bohemia.

Dorham’s talent is frequently lauded by critics and other musicians, but he never received the kind of attention from the jazz establishment that many of his peers did. For this reason, his name has become (in the words of writer Gary Giddins) “virtually synonymous with ‘underrated.’”

During his final years Dorham suffered from kidney disease, of which he died.

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