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The Music Of Kenny Dorham

Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, Oct. 11, is “The Music of Kenny Dorham.”  During his active playing career, flashier contemporaries, such as Freddie Hubbard and Lee Morgan sadly eclipsed trumpeter Kenny Dorham in the public eye.  This was because of his softer sound, narrower range and a more melodic playing style. 

Many of his compositions had a distinct Latin feel.  He was born in Fairfield, Texas, in 1924 and played piano from the age of 7, and began playing trumpet in high school.  In addition, Dorham was a boxer in his early life.  Dorham went to New York in 1945 after the service and played with the great Billy Eckstine band.  He was with Charlie Parker in 1948 and 1949.  Throughout his career, he studied composition and arranging at off and on at New York colleges.  Late in his career, Dorham wrote for Downbeat magazine.  Dorham died from kidney failure in 1972, leaving a legacy of many very good compositions and took part in 165 recording sessions, 41 as  leader.  His best-known compositions are “Una Mas” and “Blue Bossa.

The Slide Show contains my photographs of some of the musicians heard on this show.

This Archive for the show will be available until the morning of September 19, 2016.

This is the only extant video of Kenny Dorham (Stockholn, 1963) with a Scandinavian Rhythm Section.  The tunes are "Short Story" and "Sky Blue."

Dennis Owsley has broadcast a weekly jazz show for St. Louis Public Radio since April 1983. He holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry and is a retired Monsanto Senior Science Fellow and college teacher. His show, Jazz Unlimited, airs every Sunday from 9:00 p.m. to midnight. The show has the largest jazz audience in St. Louis and was named Best Jazz Radio Show in St. Louis for the years 2005-2007 and 2009 by the Riverfront Times. In celebration of his 25 years on the air, January 24, 2008 was proclaimed Dennis Owsley Day" in the City of St. Louis. He is the 2010 winner of the St. Louis Public Radio Millard S. Cohen Lifetime Achievement Award. Dennis is also a noted photographer, and his exhibit, In the Moment: Photographs of Jazz Musicians, ran from September 23, 2005 to January 21, 2006 at the Sheldon Art Gallery. He is a lifetime student of jazz history and teaches short courses on the subject. Dennis is the author of the award-winning book City of Gabriels: The History of Jazz in St. Louis 1985-1973, published in 2006.