In the liner notes of Quiet Kenny, former Downbeat magazine publisher Jack Maher states that trumpeter Kenny Dorham's music is not necessarily the demure, balladic, rapturous jazz one might associate as romantic or tranquil. Cool and understated might be better watchwords for what the ultra-melodic Dorham achieves on this undeniably well crafted set of standards and originals that is close to containing his best work overall during a far too brief career. Surrounded by an excellent rhythm team of the equally sensitive pianist Tommy Flanagan, emerging bassist Paul Chambers, and the always-beneficial drummer Art Taylor, Dorham and his mates are not prone to missteps or overt exaggerations. One of Dorham's all-time best tunes "Lotus Blossom" kicks off the set with its bop to Latin hummable melody, fluid dynamics, and Dorham's immaculate, unpretentious tone. "Old Folks," a classic ballad, is done mid-tempo, while the true "quiet" factor comes into play on interesting version of "My Ideal" where Dorham gingerly squeezes out the slippery wet notes, and on the sad ballad "Alone Together." The rest of the material is done in easygoing, unforced fashion, especially the originals "Blue Friday" and the simple swinger "Blue Spring Shuffle" which is not really a shuffle. Never known as a boisterous or brash player, but also not a troubadour of romanticism -- until he started singing -- Dorham's music is also far from complacent, and this recording established him as a Top Five performer in jazz on his instrument. It comes recommended to all.
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AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos