Kenny DORHAM – Una Mas 1963

Kenny DORHAM – Una Mas 1963
1987 Issue.


“Una Mas” is a testament to Dorham’s singular approach to mixing bossa and bop. His breathy articulations also add spice to an already infectious melody. This was Joe Henderson’s first recording session. Just shy of his 26th birthday and already mature in his conception, Joe would become one of Blue Note’s most celebrated mainstays. In the rhythm section are Herbie Hancock and Tony Williams, two future anchors of the Miles Davis Quintet. Handfuls of groove rise up from Hancock’s fervent and uncharacteristically soulful comping. The spirited cymbals of the 17-year-old Williams complete the package.
By David Tenenholtz.
Trumpeter Kenny Dorham was a significant presence in the bop and hard bop scenes, a musician whose distinctive, lyrical style had been apparent from his work in the late ’40s with Charlie Parker’s quintet. The year 1963 was especially good for him. He had just returned from a trip to Brazil where he had been absorbing the bossa nova, and he had formed a musical partnership with Joe Henderson, a powerful young tenor saxophonist whose rugged sound and coiling lines were an ideal complement to Dorham’s often subtler approach. This session is the first in a series of dates that would pair the two, and the fifteen minute “Una Mas,” a percolating mix of hard bop sonorities and a samba beat, was the first recorded example of Dorham’s distinctive exploration of bossa nova (his “Blue Bossa” would become a jazz standard). Pianist Herbie Hancock, bassist Butch Warren, and drummer Tony Williams all take naturally to the new beat, handling it as effectively as they do “Straight Ahead.”
By Stuart Broomer. AMG.
This is a revered session in some quarters, I know, but I suspect partly for the wrong reasons. The compositions are worthy (in fact, I find “Una Mas” similar to but more infectious than “Sidewinder”) but not necessarily “essential.” The personnel are first-rate, but Joe Henderson’s harmonic adventurousness is no match for Hank Mobley’s warmth and melodic inventiveness; nor are Tony Williams’ dancing cymbals as irresistible a force of nature as Blakey’s hot and explosive skins. In other words, rate this set, as far as the Dorham canon goes, with “The Jazz Messengers at the Cafe Bohemia,” “Whistle Stop,” and “Afro-Cuban” but not necessarily ahead of them.
The reason to own this one is the man who belongs on even the shortest list of trumpet greats (for example, Diz, Clifford, and Kenny?). His playing is absolutely addictive. No one else prepares and “cures” every single note, launching it with that lovely cushion of sound. No one plays with so little pose and showmanship, relying so exclusively on the substance of the music itself to make sense–intellectually and emotionally–without reliance on extraneous effects. There’s tenderness, warmth, and abundant humor in each Dorham solo, but once again it arises from what the man does with the materials at hand and not from a musical persona that takes itself overly seriously. Above all I hear a vulnerability in Dorham’s work that not only touches a universal emotional core but more often than not sets off the triumph of each of his poignant creations.
If you’ve developed a Dorham habit, “Una Mas” is definitely one more to add to your collection. It’s also a good place to start, but as the title suggests it won’t do all by itself.
By Samuel Chell.
Kenny Dorham- Trumpet
Joe Henderson- Tenor Sax
Herbie Hancock- Piano
Butch Warren- Bass
Tony Williams- Drums
01. Una Mas (One More Time) 15:19
02. Straight Ahead 8:59
03. Sao Paolo Dorham 7:20
04. If Ever I Would Leave You 5:09

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