Watch the Dorhamitory online guitar lesson by David Hamburger from 50 Jazz-Blues Licks You MUST Know

I wish I could remember who it was who observed that nearly every noteworthy jazz musician has succeeded in mastering two styles of the music, but mastery of three is rare indeed. That is, someone like Benny Goodman learned to play in the New Orleans style before emerging as a leading swing clarinettist and Count Basie learned stride piano before developing his stripped-down, big band-driving approach, but while each was a major innovator, neither felt compelled to master bebop (or "modern jazz," as its creators, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk thought of it).

One of the most interesting aspects of the development of bebop is that, since the big bands were where up and coming musicians could find work, those bands served as inadvertent incubators for the next big developments in jazz. Like Gillespie, Kenny Dorham played for a time in the band of vibraphonist Lionel Hampton, himself an alumnus of the Benny Goodman small groups of the 1930s (Hampton’s band also included at one point or another modernists like bassist Charles Mingus, Wes Montgomery, and trumpeters Art Farmer and Gigi Gryce). Eventually, of course, the inmates took over the prison, first with the formation of Billy Eckstine’s big band, which featured musicians like Gillespie, Parker, Dexter Gordon and Miles Davis, and then with Gillespie forming his own big band; both organizations included Dorham among their ranks at one point or another.

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