Overshadowed in his lifetime by Dizzy Gillespie, Fats Navarro, Miles Davis, and Clifford Brown, Kenny Dorham (1924-72) was a giant in his own right, an improviser with a very personal sound and style and a composer of finely-crafted originals. This December 1953 date, his first as a leader, was almost impossible to come by until its 1984 release in the Original Jazz Classics series. Now the CD version offers three previously unissued tracks, including two vocal performances (#10 and 11) that serve to uncover a bit of jazz history:
Dorham first appeared as a vocalist during his mid-1940s stint with the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band, where he had one blues feature per show. His recorded debut as vocalist was always thought to be the 1958 Riverside LP This Is the Moment/Kenny Dorham Sings and Plays.
Evidently, however, the "new" vocal tracks included on the CD at hand were recorded for Debut either as part of or previous to the 1953 session that produced the other nine tracks. Label head Charles Mingus decided not to release them at the time, and they languished in the tape vault for almost 40 years, until their fortuitous discovery in late 1992.
with Jimmy Heath, Walter Bishop, Percy Heath, Kenny Clarke