top of page

Blue Spring: KENNY DORHAM Septet


RLP-117 118 A
RLP-117 118 front
RLP-117 118 back.jpg
RLP-117 118 A.jpg
RLP-117 118 B.jpg

Kenny Dorham (tp) Cannonball Adderley (as) Cecil Payne (bs) David Amram (frh) Cedar Walton (p) Paul Chambers (b) Jimmy Cobb (drs) or Philly Joe Jones (drs: B-2,3)   

NYC; Jan.20 & Feb.18, 1959


  1. Blue Spring (6:08) (Kenny Dorham)

  2. It Might As Well Be Spring (7:36) (Rodgers & Hammerstein)

  3. Poetic (6:439 (Kenny Dorham)


  1. Spring Is Here (6:32) (Kenny Dorham)

  2. Spring Cannon (4:48) (Kenny Dorham)

  3. Passion Spring (8:27) (Rodgers & Hart)

   Spring is more than just season of the year. It is really a state of mind, a symbol of youth, joy and vitality – as poets, lovers, and other such disciples of fundamental truths know quite well. In this album, this spirit of Spring is being properly celebrated in jazz terms by KENNY DORHAM, with the aid of CANNONBALL ADDERLEY and several other qualified experts on the subject of musical beauty and truth.

   Since Spring is above all a time in which things come into bloom, it is quite fitting that this LP offers probably the most complete recorded view to date of the considerable and varied jazz talents of Kenny Dorham. It is, of course, no secret at all that Jenny is among the finest of modern trumpets; he has been recognized for more than a decade as a consistently exciting and imaginative horn, one of the very few who can sensibly be mentioned in the same breath with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis.  What is not nearly so well known is that Kenny is fresh and highly imaginative jazz composer and arranger (although Miles and Max Roach, among others, have long been outspoken enthusiasts n the subject of Dorham’s writing). This is actually the first time that Kenny has been able to take on complete responsibility for the preparation and execution of an album: not only is he the leader and a featured soloist, but the unusual instrumentation here is also Kenny’s idea, four of the six compositions are written and arranged by him, and the scorings of the two standards are also Dorham products. The result is an LP that clearly bears the stamp of Kenny’s fertile musical personality, firmly and impressively expressing both his strength and his lyricism.

   The “Spring” emphasis is no arbitrary device. It reflects the fact that a feeling of life and lightness runs through the album, maintaining itself through a range of moods – from the earthiness of Blue Spring to the tight-knit, surging Passion Spring. The four-horn lineup helps greatly in the creation of this feeling, both because of the nature of the instruments and because of the qualities of the men Kenny has chosen to play them. Dorham himself is in notably fleet and agile form here; Cannonball commands a particularly soaring alto style. Cecil Payne plays unusually fluent baritone, with what must surely be the least ‘heavy’ sound of anyone currently playing that instrument; and Dave Amram provides buoyant and mellow French horn support throughout.

   KENNY DORHAM has been an important and influential part of the Eastern jazz scene since the mid-1940s, which means that he was barely twenty when he began his long and close association with Gillespie, Charlie Parker and others top stars. During the mid-50s, Dorham worked alongside Sonny Rollins in Max Roach’s quintet. More recently, he has been leading his own groups in the New York area.

   JULIAN “CANNONBALL” ADDERLEY, who has since early 1958 been featured with the Miles Davis Sextet, is a formidable improvisor and a thoroughly schooled musician. On this LP he demonstrates once again why many consider him the alto star of the day. He is spotlighted in particular on Spring Cannon (Which, Dorham notes, started out to be canon – but he changed his mind while writing it, and by altering its form and the spelling of the title, turned it into a piece dedicated to Adderley!).

   Cecil Payne has a well-earned reputation as both a swinger and a solid ensemble anchor-man. Dave Amram, in addition to his performing skills, has written highly-praised background scores for several recent Broadway and off-Broadway plays. The smooth-swinging rhythm support here includes the very promising young pianist. Cedar Walton, who has worked with J. J. Johnson and Gigi Gryce; and the outstanding young bass star, Paul Chambers – who contributes a couple of notable solos, on Blue Spring and Spring Is Here. Jimmy Cobb and the remarkable Philly Joe Jones, both of whom have also gained much attention by their work in Miles Davis groups, share the drumming.

   Dorham can also be heard on Riverside STEREO on –

Jazz Contrasts: KENNY DORHAM; with Sonny Rollins, Max Roach (RLP 1105)

   Adderley also appears on –

Things Are Getting Better: CANNONBALL ADDERLEY; with Milt Jackson (RLP 1128)

Alabama Concerto: featuring CANNONBALL ADDERLEY, Art Farmer (RLP 1123)


   High Fidelity Engineering

Produced, and notes written by ORRIN KEEPNEWS

Cover produced and designed by PAUL BACON – KEN BRAREN – HARRIS LEWINE

Back-liner photo by LAWRENCE SHUSTAK

Engineer: JACK HIGGINS (Reeves Sound Studios)

Mastered by JACK MATTHEWS (Components Corp.) on a GYDROFEED lathe.


553 West 51st Street New York 19, N.Y.

bottom of page