Artist Profile: Kenny Dorham

Black History Month

Artist Profile: Kenny Dorham

Posted by on Feb 8, 2019

For Black History Month we’re turning the spotlight on several prominent black musicians both past and present whose contributions helped put Austin music on the map. KUT reporter DaLyah Jones produced these profiles for KUTX with help from Clay Shorkey of The Texas Music Museum.


Kenny Dorham (Aug 30, 1924 – Dec. 5, 1972)

McKinley Kenny Dorham, AKA “Buckwheat,” was born in Fairfield Texas. The musical pioneer was taught how to play piano at an early age and later played in his band at Kealing Junior High and Kealing High Schools where he picked up the trumpet and saxophone. He later attended Wiley College in Marshall, Texas before going to a music school in New York. Over his career, Dorham performed on film soundtracks, acted in French films, performed alongside Thelonious Monk, Art Blakey and more before his death. The underappreciated jazz musician has influenced contemporary jazz artists like Ephraim Owens and the rhythm of Austin.

– DaLyah Jones, KUTX News

Research assistance and archival material provided by Clay Shorkey of The Texas Music Museum