When one thinks of great talent scouts in jazz, the name of Kenny Dorham is often overlooked. However, many top young players benefited from playing in his groups, and for proof one need look no further than the lineup on this 1963 CD reissue: tenor-saxophonist Joe Henderson, bassist Butch Warren, and (before either player joined Miles Davis) pianist Herbie Hancock and drummer Tony Williams. Together the quintet performs three of the trumpeter's originals ("Una Mas" is the most famous) along with the standard ballad "If Ever I Would Leave You." Even if the playing time is a bit brief, the explorative yet swinging music lives up to its potential.
Una Mas, on the front cover titled Una Mas (One More Time), is a jazz album by trumpeter Kenny Dorham and his quintet, released in 1963 on Blue Note as BLP 4127 and BST 84127. The album would be the next-to-last studio session led by the legendary trumpeter, since after 1964, he'd begin to fade and disappear from the jazz scenes. Una Mas features three compositions by Dorham himself and the jazz ballad "If Ever I Would Leave You", originally composed by Loewe/Lerner for the musical Camelot.
Baritonist Gil Melle's recordings are usually a bit unusual and this CD reissue is no exception. Melle's nine compositions are performed by one of three sextet/septets featuring either Art Farmer, Kenny Dorham or Donald Byrd on trumpets, Hal McKusick or Phil Woods on alto, guitarist Joe Cinderella, bassist Vinnie Burke, drummer Ed Thigpen and sometimes either Julius Watkins on French horn or Don Butterfield on tuba. The charts are unpredictable and often dramatic, looking ahead toward a musical future that never occurred. Watkins takes solo honors during his three appearances.
This edition limited to 10,000 copies and 20-Bit K2 Super Coding. In the liner notes of Quiet Kenny, former Downbeat magazine publisher Jack Maher states that trumpeter Kenny Dorham's music is not necessarily the demure, balladic, rapturous jazz one might associate as romantic or tranquil. Cool and understated might be better watchwords for what the ultra-melodic Dorham achieves on this undeniably well crafted set of standards and originals that is close to containing his best work overall during a far too brief career. Surrounded by an excellent rhythm team of the equally sensitive pianist Tommy Flanagan, emerging bassist Paul Chambers, and the always-beneficial drummer Art Taylor, Dorham and his mates are not prone to missteps or overt exaggerations.