Kenny Dorham's best Blue Note date, and arguably the best of his career, is the exceptional WHISTLE STOP. Although he never received the same recognition as trumpeters like Miles Davis or Lee Morgan, Dorham was a stellar talent. This session crystallizes all of Dorham's skill as a soloist, leader, and composer, as all selections are originals. The trumpeter's frequent partner Joe Henderson is replaced here with the equally talented Hank Mobley along with pianist Kenny Drew and the legendary rhythm team of Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones. These ingredients form a magical combination that defines the golden age of hard bop.
The group blows strong from the outset with the bluesy "Philly Twist," a tribute to and feature for the legendary drummer. Dorham reflects many influences in his writing and playing, from the hushed rhumba of "Sunset," to the bebop-flavored title track. His penchant for elaborate arrangements is evident in the programmatic "Sunrise in Mexico," easily the set's most intricate cut. Dorham's "talking" trumpet style shines throughout the date and is a fine counter to Mobley's swinging tenor wails. The final cut, "Dorham's Epitaph," is a brief vignette that offers a glimpse of the trumpeter's aspirations to even grander musical heights.
Personnel: Kenny Dorham (trumpet); Hank Mobley (tenor saxophone); Kenny Drew (piano); Paul Chambers (bass); Philly Joe Jones (drums).