Sao Paulo – Kenny Dorham
A funky Latin Kenny Dorham composition with a laid-back vibe. This great arrangement has separate parts for the rhythm section (piano, bass and drums), along with melody and second parts, all downloadable here. Also check out Kenny Dorham's transcribed trumpet solo, available in B-flat and C editions, for new soloing ideas.
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- Recording: Kenny Dorham - Una Mas
- Recorded on: April 1, 1963
- Label: Blue Note (BLP 4127)
- Concert Key: A-flat minor
- Vocal Range: , to
- Style: Latin (Funky)
- Trumpet - Kenny Dorham
- Tenor Sax - Joe Henderson
- Piano - Herbie Hancock
- Bass - Butch Warren
- Drums - Tony Williams
Everyone in the rhythm section has their own role; you can hear it in our audio excerpt which starts at the melody. The melody is set up beautifully by a 20-measure intro, starting with the rhythm section alone for eight measures. The horns enter softly for twelve measures of harmonies (with tremolos). The form of the melody is AAB, ending with a 6/4 measure that sets up an eleven-measure Interlude to introduce the first soloist. The Interlude is played again between soloists.
The solo form is the same, 12(A)-12(A)-9(B), except the first four measures of the A section and the B section are swing (instead of all Latin as in the melody. The last measure of the B section returns to the 6/4 melody measure that either sets up another solo chorus or returns to the interlude. The Interlude can set up the next soloist or, after the last soloist, the out melody. The composition ends with a Coda that utilizes the tremolo horn effect again. This is another masterpiece from the landmark session that also produced Una Mas and Straight Ahead.
To dig deeper into Kenny's music, get pianist Walter Davis Jr.'s book of piano arrangements for 30 Dorham titles K.D.: 30 Compositions by Kenny Dorham. Walter was a close friend and playing companion of Kenny's and his piano arrangements show the intricate interaction between melody, harmony and rhythm that makes Dorham compositions so unique and compelling.
On Kenny Dorham's Sao Paulo, we can see great examples of classic Herbie Hancock voicings, including large two-handed chords with upper structure triads, and clever orchestrations of 13th chords and melodic minor scales. Although he has many hip voicings to work with, at the end of every B section he always plays the same voicings and rhythms. This is a noteworthy musical decision, as this tricky section in the form needs to be clearly articulated.
The à la series (in the style of) provides a sample chorus of voicings drawn from the song's original recording, but notated as footballs: simple whole notes and half notes, or the basic harmonic rhythm of the chord progression of the solo section. They are also annotated, showing the original chord symbol above the voicing, as well as any extensions below the voicing. The idea is that these voicings could be of varied uses to any level of pianist—a beginner pianist could play the music exactly as on the page and provide a supportive and harmonically hip sounding accompaniment to a soloist, while a more advanced pianist could use these same voicings with varied rhythms in the style of the recording. Ultimately, a pianist would be able to absorb how these voicings were derived from the chord symbols, and then be able to create their own.
Trumpeter/composer Kenny Dorham loved to explore rhythms from other parts of the world. This particular tune is his dedication to the largest city in Brazil, Sao Paulo. He decided to challenge the bassist, Butch Warren, by giving him this tricky counter melody in thumb position in the key of C-flat. A serious challenge for any bassist!
There are many different and very specific sections to the bass part—it's a fun read. And once the trumpet solo hits and they begin to swing, if you're playing along, you've got an unbeatable rhythm section of Herbie Hancock on piano and Tony Williams on drums (who at this point in time were just about to join forces in Miles Davis's second great quintet rhythm section!)
August 30, 1924 – December 15, 1972
Trumpeter/composer Kenny Dorham was very much on the jazz scene from the mid-1940s through most of the 1960s. He worked and recorded with all the major figures in the modern jazz movement, which includes the legendary Billy Eckstine big band, Dizzy Gillespie, Art Blakey, Bud Powell, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk and Max Roach as well as Kenny Clarke, Sonny Stitt, Fats Navarro, J.J. Johnson and many other giants of that period. Read more...