Kenny's First Classic CD - (bonus tracks OK not great).
Scott Williams | Oakland, CA United States | 07/20/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Recorded in 1955, Afro-cuban is Kenny Dorham's first classic album. Kenny had the complete package. He had a beautiful tone, amazing chops, and he was a great composer. It is a wonder why he is not more reknown. The first five tracks on this reissue are all latin/jazz classics. They are an essential part of every jazz library. The bonus tracks included on the re-issue aren't quite the same caliber as the first part of the CD. They are more standard hard bop tunes that latin jazz tunes, and are from a different recording session. The first five tracks feature an all star lineup: Kenny on trumpet, J.J. Johnson on trombone, Hank Mobley on tenor sax, Cecil Payne on baritione sax, Horace Silver on piano, Oscar Petiford on bass, Art Blakey on drums, and Carlos 'Potato' Valdes on conga ... wow! I highly recommend this album along with just about all Kenny's albums."
A triumph of jazz trumpet
Eric C. Sedensky | Madison, AL, US | 05/14/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Growing up in the late 60's and early 70's, one of my earliest musical memories is of repeatedly listening to Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass on my parents' stereo (high tech back then). When I was old enough to think I knew what I was doing, I even talked my parents into letting me take lessons and play trumpet for a summer. When I was done blowing my brains out after three months and still couldn't play "Yankee [Diddley] Doodle", we sold the trumpet and I started playing the organ. I share this so that it serves as my disclaimer that I am biased toward trumpet, but nonetheless, that did not influence my rating and review of this fantastic recording. I saw Kenny Dorham's name on the The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings: Eighth Edition (Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings) Core Collection, and while this is not the recording on that list ('Round About Midnight at the Cafe Bohemia, Vol. 1-2is), I had a chance to pick this up relatively cheaply, so I did. I am very glad I did, too. Kenny really knows how to shake it, and he does it without a lot of mute and effects, just straight ahead, sharp, bright trumpet playing. The Afro-Cuban influences and claves and whatnot are unmistakeable, but the wonder of this CD is that it doesn't smack you over the head with "ethnicity" at every turn. It merely presents some rousing, pleasing jazz in some unusual but not unheard of rhythm patterns accented by less-than-conventional percussion instruments. The effect is as soothing as it is exciting. By about the fourth song on my second time listening through the work, I started to notice how clever and intricate the piano work was while staying true to the beat and theme. I was not suprised to find Horace Silver's name there, but I was surprised to find J.J. Johnson (trombone) and Art Blakey (drums) there, too. Man, that's one helluva backing band right there! All in all, I can't belive this recording isn't on the Core Collection list, and it makes me very anxious to pick up the one by Kenny that is. This remastering is also another in the Blue Note/Rudy Van Gelder collection, and it is one of the cleanest and clearest I've heard. If you have even the faintest inclination toward jazz trumpet, you owe it to yourself to pick up this CD. After all, you can't listen to Louis, Dizzy, Clifford and Miles ALL the time. And by the same token, if you've never been a big Latin or Afro jazz fan, this is a great chance to let Kenny change your mind. Afro-Cuban is a wonderful addition to any music collection, jazz or no. "
This is great!
rayjazz | las vegas, NV | 12/06/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Kenny Dorham was one of the greatest of jazz trumpeters. This is a must have CD. The song selection, the technical execution will impress even the casual listener. I had this CD going in my truck on a long trip to work one day, when my carpool passenger commented, " wow, that's hard to do". Yep, that's Kenny Dorham."
HALF AFRO-CUBAN, HALF MAINSTREAM 50'S
Tony NYC | Brooklyn, NY USA | 02/09/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of my favorite Kenny Dorham albums. First off, the players with Dorham are: Jay Jay Johnson, trombone; Hank Mobley, tenor sax; Cecil Payne, baritone sax; Horace Silver, piano; Oscar Pettiford, bass (cuts 1-5); Percy Heath, bass (cuts 6-9); Carlos "Potato" Valdez, conga; and Art Blakey, drums. So we're talking greats. The first half of this album is Afro Cuban jazz and include Valdez on Conga. The second half is mainstream jazz in nature and drops Valdez for a more mainstream feel. Also on the second half, J.J. Johnson is not present, and Pettiford is replaced by Heath on bass. It's like two different albums in one, but ALL of it is great. This album has the debut version of Dorhams famous (relatively speaking of course) "Lotus Flower" and an alternate, previously unreleased alternate take of "Minor's Holiday". Recorded by the great Rudy Van Gelder in Hackensack, N.J. in 1955. (two seperate recording sessions) Cuts 1-5 were done on March 29, and cuts 6-9 were done a couple of months earlier on January 30, but unfortunately not re-masted by (in my honest opinion) his best sidekick, Phil DeLancie. I guess I'm used to the dynamic duo of Van Gelder and DeLancie when it comes to music from this era, and I can truly hear immediately when DeLancie is missing from the mix. Just a tid bit, but if you are an audiophile as well as a Jazz lover, you might notice that when listening. A must have recording if you are a Kenny Dorham fan. While you're at it, pick up a copy of Dorham's "Whistle Stop" and the sometimes hard to find (so keep looking) "Kenny Dorham Memorial" from January 10, 1960, and you'll have a great Kenny Dorham collection.