There’s a class of musicians who died too young. Not necessarily when discussing age, but more so when discussing the evolution of their sound. Kenny Dorham was one of them. A progressive trumpeter who was a force during his era, recording and playing with all of the marque names in jazz. Yes, Kenny dying prematurely at age 48 is extremely young and tragic, but fortunately he left a thorough discography for future generations.
Dorham began recording in the early 50’s, and throughout his playing career, he experimented with different forms of jazz, including his album Afro-Cuban released in 1955, and this particular album entitled Una Mas, released on Blue Note records in 1963. Una Mas dabbled in latin jazz while maintaing the straight ahead rhythms which were synonymous with the Blue Note label during that particular time. Una Mas contains a heavyweight backing band, with what was then, young talent, including Joe Henderson on Sax, Herbie Hancock on Piano, Tony Williams on Drums, and Butch Warren on Bass. All members were in their 20’s, besides Kenny, who was close to 40 during the recording.
To reiterate, Kenny is in the class of musicians that died right before jazz started to become electric. Being a creative mind and an immense talent, we can only wonder where he would have taken his craft, sound, and musicianship in the then newer eras of jazz. Although his 70’s progression is an unknown, we can enjoy what he has created, and this is one of his finest recordings.
Written by: @Haylow