Kenny Dorham – The Flamboyan, Queens, NY, 1963


Kenny Dorham – The Flamboyan, Queens, NY, 1963
Featuring Joe Henderson
Uptown Records Flashback Series
UPCD 27.60 2009 53:15
Includes 24 page CD Booklet

Kenny Dorham, trumpet
Joe Henderson, tenor sax
Ronnie Matthews, piano
Steve Davis, bass
J.C. Moses, drums
Alan Grant, MC

1. Dorian
2. Alan Grant speaks with the band
3. I Can’t Get Started
4. Summertime
5. Alan Grant Speaks
6. My Injun From Brazil (Una Mas)
7. Autumn Leaves
8. Alan Grant Speaks
9. Dynamo (Straight Ahead)

This broadcast recording is a treasure unearthed after 47 years. Alan Grant, who hosted the broadcast from an obscure club in an outer borough of New York City, preserved the tape of the program. It documents the early stage of the partnership between Dorham, one of the great trumpet soloists of the bebop and post-bop eras, and the young tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson. Among the herd of Coltrane clones, Henderson was beginning in the early 60s to attract attention as an individual voice. He went on to be recognized as a modern master of the instrument. The pair made two Blue Note albums together under Dorham's leadership, three under Henderson's and one under Andrew Hill's. This unexpected and welcome preview of their symbiosis deserves a place alongside the Blue Notes. Dorham's solo on "Dorian" includes a quote from "I Get The Neck of the Chicken," an unlikely insertion into a modal piece and typical of his subtle wit. The lyricism of his work on "I Can't Get Started," "Summertime" and an early version of his composition "Una Mas" is based in the warmth of his sound and the depth of his unique exploitation of chords. It is a reminder of why nearly half a century later Dorham is an influence on the harmonic thinking of young players. Henderson, fully formed by 1963, solos with daring, passion and tonal qualities that make him immediately recognizable. The rhythm section of pianist Ronnie Matthews, bassist Steve Davis and drummer J.C. Moses is solid and effective despite Matthews having to accommodate to a horrid piano. The CD presents the club performance intact as a broadcast. Grant's announcements are on tracks that can be programmed out by those who don't want to hear them on repeated listenings, but they are reminders that there was a time when little clubs presented major players and radio stations did live remotes. By Doug Ramsey -

By Doug Ramsey

Kenny Dorham was a promising trumpeter whose career was sidetracked by drug problems that caused his cabaret card to be revoked (preventing bookings in Manhattan jazz clubs) and also led to his premature death from kidney disease in 1972. This 1963 aircheck from a broadcast MCed by Alan Grant at the Flamboyan in Queens, New York, is a rare opportunity to hear Dorham as a leader playing live. Joining him is tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson, who had appeared on the leader's Una Mas while also using the trumpeter on his Blue Note album Page One, the latter recorded less than two weeks before this broadcast. Utilizing a pickup rhythm section, since there wasn't sufficient work for them to keep a regular group going, consisting of pianist Ronnie Mathews, bassist Steve Davis (who had worked with John Coltrane), and drummer J.C. Moses, the quintet kicks off with Mathews' loping "Dorian." One oddity is that Dorham's snappy Latin vehicle "Una Mas" (which has long since become a jazz standard) is introduced as "My Injun from Brazil"; in any case, his sassy horn never sounded better. The trumpeter and tenor saxophonist shine in the introspective, bluesy treatment of "Summertime," while Henderson and Mathews take the spotlight in an extended take of "Autumn Leaves." The quintet wraps the broadcast with a breezy finale, "Dynamo," a breezy bop vehicle based on "I Got Rhythm" changes, though it is faded before its conclusion. The audio is quite good for the era, with lots of period photographs and in-depth liner notes by Bob Blumenthal, which causes the rather thick booklet to be challenging to remove from the jewel box. This is a delightful historical treasure that bop fans will enjoy.

by Ken Dryden