Dorham, Kenny [McKinley Howard] (near Fairfield, TX, 30 Aug 1924 - New York, 5 Dec 1972)




He played in swing orchestras and in the innovative bop big bands of Dizzy Gillespie and Billy Eckstine (1945); while with Gillespie he also appeared as a blues singer. In 1948 he began an important association with Charlie Parker's quintet, with which he remained until 1949. He was a founding member of the Jazz Messengers in 1954, and briefly led a similar group called the Jazz Prophets. From 1956 to 1958 he played in Max Roach's quintet, replacing Clifford Brown. Later he taught at the Lenox (Massachusetts) School of Jazz (1958-9), appeared in the films Les liaisons dangereuses and Un témoin dans la ville (both 1959), and in the mid-1960s led a quintet with Joe Henderson. In his best recordings of the mid- and late 1950s Dorham rivaled his greatest contemporaries in technical command, tunefulness, and beauty of timbre.


Barry Kernfeld


The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, © Macmillan Reference Ltd 1988