Written in tightly constructed rhymed quatrains, this is the first biography of internationally acclaimed Texas jazz trumpeter Kenny Dorham. Beginning in 1963 with Dorham’s recordings in Denmark, this book-length poem traces the story of the Texan’s career performing with the greatest musicians of the bop and hard bop eras in jazz history—including Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Sonny Rollins, and John Coltrane. Also discussing extensive traveling as a musician and his lamentably short-lived group the Jazz Prophets, this account demonstrates why Dorham remains something of a cult figure despite his premature death at age 48.
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Dave Oliphant is a native Texan poet, a recently retired professor from the University of Texas–Austin, and the editor and publisher of Prickly Pear Press. He is the author of numerous volumes of poetry, including Backtracking, Memories of Texas Towns and Cities, and Maria's Poems, as well as a collection of 16 essays entitled Jazz Mavericks of the Lone Star State. He lives in Austin, Texas.Review:
"From the unquestioned authority on jazz music by Texans comes what is surely the most unusual book any music lover will read this year. KD is a 200-page poem, a verse biography of Texas trumpeter Kenny Dorham, who stands behind only Ornette Coleman as the state's most gifted jazz artist. The great drummer Art Blakey called him the 'uncrowned trumpet king,' and writer Scott Yanow echoed what dozens of critics have noted since Dorham's death at age 48 of kidney disease in 1972, that he was 'almost famous for being underrated.' So it's poetic justice—in this case, that's not a metaphor—that Dave Oliphant has crowned Dorham with a peerless tribute." —www.Statesman.com
"Trying to put jazz into words can be tricky, like setting James Joyce to music. But Texas author, poet, and jazz expert Dave Oliphant has embraced a novel way to do so that is adventurous, just a little odd, and entirely satisfying. . . . So Oliphant riffs with four lines that rhyme. And like a great musician, he can make a deceptively simple line speak eloquently. . . . Thanks to Dave Oliphant's slightly quirky but richly rewarding quatrains we have the Rubaiyat of Kenny Dorham." —Foreword (June 2012)
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