Personnel: Kenny Dorham (trumpet); Hank Mobley (tenor saxophone); Cecil Payne (baritone saxophone); Jay Jay Johnson (trombone); Horace Silver (piano); Oscar Pettiford, Percy Heath (bass); Art Blakey (drums); Carlos "Potato" Valdes (congas).
Producer: Alfred Lion.
Reissue producer: Michael Cuscuna.
Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey on January 30 and March 29, 1955. Includes liner notes by Leonard Feather and Michael Cuscuna.
The late Kenny Dorham was a fairly unique figure in jazz, in that he played with Charlie Parker and Andrew Hill, representatives of both the original bebop school and with the Blue Note post-bop scene of the 1960s. AFRO-CUBAN, originally issued in 1955, is one of Dorham's finest albums, highlighting his skill as composer, bandleader, and, of course, trumpeter. Half the album is a melding of melodically imaginative bop and the African-based rhythms of Cuba and the Caribbean, while the remainder is more straight-up bebop. The playing is exemplary and fresh, as befitting a posse of players that includes Hank Mobley, Horace Silver, and Art Blakey in their younger days. The tunes, nearly all originals, are tight and trim--all killer, no filler.