Kenny Dorham Blue Spring (1959) Riverside Stereo


Selection: Passion Spring


Kenny Dorham (t) Dave Amram (French horn) Cannonball Adderley (as) Cecil Payne (bars) Cedar Walton (p) Paul Chambers (b) Philly Joe Jones (d) NYC, January 20 and February 18 1959

Year: 1959

1959January 1959, Fidel Castro comes to power; within days the United States recognises the new Cuban government. Hey you – you in the peaked cap and beard. Don’t I know you? Not me Yankee!


Spring-themed four horn septet, each a bluesy romp, with fine alto solos from Cannonball Adderley, and Cecil Payne on Bari. Not ground breaking, but everyone swinging, having a good blues jam.

Dorham is sometimes referred to as “the uncrowned king of jazz trumpet”, starting out under the shadow of the more widely recognised Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Clifford Brown, and Fats Navarro. Having earned his spurs on the bebop scene, Dorham demonstrated a tenacious ability to adapt and evolve, by the late fifties leading his own groups and recording for Riverside and sub-label Jazzland.  Dorham’s trumpet could be romantic, harmonically bitter-sweet, or upbeat and swinging, with great verve and pep. His progressive post-bop style  earned him further recognition recording for Blue Note, both as a leader, composer, and collaborator on many of Joe Henderson’s titles and is found on the forward-looking Andrew Hill Point of Departure. A great talent. (I was tempted to launch a trumpet poll but I think we will leave that for another day)

Vinyl:  Riverside Stereo Series RLP 1139 ( RLP 12-297 mono release )

For anyone still not conversant with the concept of “stereo”, Riverside explain the presence of a “phantom speaker”:


Glad we got that explanation over with. “Phantom speaker” indeed.   That would be the mono one.

Blue Spring is a US pressing, deep groove, with faint, hardly readable matrix engraving. Riverside Stereo is quite rare here in the UK, having just the one stereo out of thirty Interdisk UK Riverside releases, the remainder, all Phantom Speaker mono.



Collectors Corner



Source Ebay (UK seller)
Sellers Description: “LP: Very Good; Cover: Good

Well, that description didn’t take long. With no photo of the label provided, a case of bidding blind, and asking no questions that might raise further interest. An unexpected number of bids for this modestly described  auction appeared.  Another sniper emerged in the closing seconds, and I felt bad about seeing off the bidder who had put in eight separate bids, escalating the price a pound at a time, a strategy I am totally unable to fathom or explain, other than the bidder suffering a slightly worrying addiction to pressing buttons.

14 thoughts on “Kenny Dorham Blue Spring (1959) Riverside Stereo

  1. Late to the party- and digging up bones at this point. Listened to my 1st pressing mono copy yesterday (VG++ condition after US bath cleaning). Nice LP, but the recording was just ok in most areas. The musicians sounded distant, and I did not get the visceral hit from Kenny’s trumpet that I normally hear on his BN titles. OTOH, Chambers’ bass is well rendered with nice pitch and definition. Good music overall, and can’t fault the quality of the players. This title remains a relative bargain in the world of collecting given the pedigree of all involved.


  2. What an extraordinary record, so pleasingly different from your (my, our…) regular hard bop fare! Arrangements that are both clever and beautiful, top-notch recording (it’s Paul Chambers, most prominently, who is much better served here than by RVG!), and a truly magisterial Cannonball. The only disappointment is in Cecil Payne’s solo work, who nevertheless is essential to the full-bodied group sound.


  3. I never knew if I had an original stereo or not with my copy. Same cover as yours and its laminated old skool style. Cut off corner with a square “APPROVED” Stamp in the back. The “Blue Spring:” Is a lot smaller than your copy. Mine starts off at the end of the y on Kenny and ends at the “M” of Dorham. Deadwax reads “RI”, two Weird looking “L” making a shape of a box and RLP 12-1139. Only paid 11 bucks for it so I thought it might be a reissue.


  4. The whole Mono/Stereo debate is a bit of a non issue here. What stands out for me is how far behind Van Gelder so many other recordings where. They simply do not compete with the Van Gelder close-miking at the time. Riverside (both mono AND stereo) sound distant and un-engaging. Only Contemporary and Columbia were on a similar level.


  5. Excellent record, here at Chez Matty only on CD though. “Spring Cannon” is a favourite and to fan the fire a bit more: I don’t mind the “extreme hole in the middle” stereo at all. If you listen carefully you can hear some of the left audio far away on the right side and vice versa of course.

    Just try this for once: sit next to your left speaker if there’s a solo on the right, you will most certainly experience the space of the studio these guys were in. And of course place yourself next to your right speaker if there’s a solo on the left. For me this happens because the audio from one side trickles through to the other side. With your eyes closed you’re almost able to guess and describe the size of the recording studio. Believe it or not, but I honestly do this every now and then. It’s at those moments that the Mrs. honestly wonders if she married a jazz enthusiast or a complete basket case 🙂


    • Comments here on “Stereo” are dangerous Matty. You did well not to use the incendiary word “fold-down”. You might just get away with the idea of” bleeding holes” but I recommend a tin helmet and keep working on the Karate defence moves, as you never know with these sound engineers.
      Gentlemen, the floor is yours.


      • The tin helmet and Karate moves may come in handy when the Mrs. is going to do what she’s said so many times before: reach for the straight jacket 😛


  6. Nice music – typically “whole in the middle” early stereo – not too great on headphones.
    Nice conditon for a “Very Good LP”. I would not have dared to bid on this LP with such a description. Why was there so many bids?


    • 14 bids, with eight from one individual. The price shot up to – well I dont mind admitting it on this one occasion – to £17 , which I thought was fair enough for a gamble and a curio. The stereo is primitive – or my gear doesn’t have a phantom speaker. Its quite an enjoyable uncomplicated record, and I like all the people playing on it. US Riversides are not anywhere near as nice pressing as the Decca and Philips pressed UK ones. Lesson learned.


      • Dear LJC, I humbly apologize for renewed carping… but your Numark still seems to be running 3 percent sharp. By the way, the indentations round the rim of the turntable – crude as they may seem – work perfectly as a strobe gauge for 33,3 RPM. I am almost certain they will remain “stationary” if you slow down by 3 percent.

        “Passion Spring” should be in C major when played on your high-end turntable. Here, it’s somewhere between C and C sharp.


        • Hi again, carp away, but let me explain. For the last week I have been in France, separated from my Numark and my vinyl by 1500 miles. Posts during the past week including the Dorham were prepared the week before, rips included at the old unadjusted speed. I am back home from travelling this evening, reunited with my collection and gear, and tomorrow is the first opportunity to adjust the pitch, on future posts and rips. The next post, a Monk recording, will be the first with corrected pitch. I would welcome your assessment on that. Keep carping till we get it right. Cheers


          • Oh, I understand. – And I’m really looking forward to the Monk post. I’m always glad to look at those marvellous full-sized LP sleeves because in many cases, all I have is that “evil silver disk”…


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