Kenny Dorham: Matador (1962) UA re.


Track Selection: El Matador


Kenny Dorham (tp) Jackie McLean (as) Bobby Timmons (p) Teddy Smith (b) J.C. Moses (d) recorded at Sound Makers, NYC, April 15, 1962

Vinyl: UAS 5631

Second issue by United Artists from 1972, originally released on the “bendy Tenor” UA label, this is a fine stereo release. I was initially put off by the cover. Not very cool and the addition of crayon strokes does little to make up for Dorham’s cabaret-jazz tuxedo. The original cover  (right) is better in my view, and reflects the style of music.


The Allmusic review awarded the album 4½ starsout of five,  and stated “Kenny Dorham’s Matador can safely claim the all too common distinction of being a classic among jazz connoisseurs while virtually unknown to the casual listener… A fantastic session by any standard

El Matador has a superb modal jazz quality, Mclean’s astringent tone pairs perfectly with Dorham silvery trumpet. Bobby Timmons urgent comping with “J.C.Moses” on drums – a player favouring the more edgy side of jazz, later playing with Archie Shepp, Don Cherry, Roswell Rudd, Andrew Hill and Sam Rivers. It is as much McLean’s album as Dorham’s.

Alan Douglas

Produced by Alan Douglas, Head of United Artists Jazz in the early Sixties. “Douglas was able to round up an impressive list of talent for one-time-only appearances for United Artists. Putting Bill Evans together with Jim Hall, Duke Ellington with Charles Mingus and Max Roach, Douglas tried to get a mix of personalities that would create something different from what these musicians were already doing and thereby stand out from the rest of their catalogs. “That’s how you become a record producer,” Douglas says. “You’re a fan first”” This record was the result of pairing  Dorham and McLean together with more adventurous sidesmen, with great results.

Douglas  enjoyed a long career as a producer, and went on to be custodian for many years of the effects of Jimmy Hendrix, with some controversy.

Labels: beige and brown United Artists



The Matrix

Hand-written matrix, press not known, but it is bright and fresh, with excellent engineering and stereo presentation. As it should be.


Collectors Corner

Seller only Saturdays in a Portobello Road arcade . A fund of stories and an interesting chat with someone who has spent most of his  life selling records. He tells the same story as everyone who sells records: relentless strangulation by increasing rents, which kills all businesses with small turnover and low margins.

5 thoughts on “Kenny Dorham: Matador (1962) UA re.

  1. Very late to the discussion but I bought this out of a dollar bin here in the states over a year ago. It had some decent scratches and marks and that, combined with the fairly terrible cover art kept me from ever pulling it out. Until this week. Finally cleaned it up this week and was amazed at 1) the sound quality. Bright and sharp; and 2) the music is utterly fantastic. The 3-part “Melanie” is nothing less than stunning and I played it 3 times in a row, basically stunned.

    I searched your site to see if you had the original and ask your opinion of these 70s Douglas pressings and was pleasantly surprised to see you have the same press, and liked it too! Thanks for the write-up. What a great one.


  2. I may be wrong on this one, but I have no recollection of EVER seeing the stereo version of the 1962 release. I believe the 1972 marks the first appearance of this title in stereo, which means that the kitschy 1972 cover is probably THE first American stereo pressing. Someone please correct me if I am wrong.


  3. Lovely date. Dorham is very underrated when discussions of jazz trumpeters come up. First exposure to this session was a CD which also tacked on his Inta Somethin’ session from Pacific Jazz. Like “Matador” enough to find a Japanese King pressing – with the original cover design – for around $30. King pressings of this LP come up from time to time and I would be shocked if you paid more than I did.


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