One of the truly great trumpeters, Kenny Dorham had his own sound, was a skilled songwriter, and was a first-rate talent scout who is credited with discovering Joe Henderson. One of the early beboppers, he perfectly led the way to hard bop in both his playing and his writing.
Dorham recorded a series of exciting albums for Blue Note. Afro-Cuban was the first and one of the most stirring. Dating from 1955, its mixture of Latin music and hard bop was ahead of its time. Using such notables as Hank Mobley, Horace Silver, J.J. Johnson and Art Blakey (whose drumming is dazzling throughout) plus percussionist Patato Valdes, Dorham contributes memorable originals, colorful arrangements that perfectly set up the solos, and his distinctive trumpet.
Dorham, who plays with passion and intensity throughout this set, leads the all-star group through such numbers as "K.D.'s Motion," "Minor's Holiday" and the mambo of "Basheer's Dream." Even the set's only ballad, "Lotus Flower," is just barely restrained enough to keep the ensemble from exploding. This album will raise the temperature in any room by at least five degrees.
Kenny Dorham (trumpet)
Jay Jay Johnson (trombone)
Hank Mobley (tenor saxophone)
Cecil Payne (baritone saxophone)
Horace Silver (piano)
Oscar Pettiford / Percy Heath (bass)
Carlos "Potato" Valdes (conga)
Art Blakey (drums)