Overshadowed for most of his career by the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Fats Navarro, Miles Davis, Clifford Brown, and Lee Morgan, Kenny Dorham's abilities as a composer and unique voice as an advanced bop trumpet player are underrated to this day.
McKinley Howard Dorham was born on August 30, 1924 on a ranch called Post Oak, near Fairfield, Texas. He attended Anderson High School in Austin, where he began teaching himself to play piano and trumpet, and spending much of his time on the school boxing team. He later enrolled at Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, studying chemistry and minoring in physics. During this time he experimented with arranging, writing for the stage band, where he met such players as Wild Bill Davis, Harold Land, and Roy Porter.