I’ve known and admired the drummer and thoughtful man Kevin Dorn for fifteen years and more. I could see Kevin in a jazz club, lifting the rhythm and making the other musicians happier — to say nothing of the audience. In fact, Kevin came by and sat in at Cafe Bohemia for the last pre-pandemic gig, whose date is seared into my neural pathways, March 12, 2020.
Kevin is also one of those musicians able to talk about what he is doing in terms that do not bore the insiders nor puzzle the civilians: he is a superb teacher / explicator with no hint of pretension . . . and he is one of those who “can do” as well as explain. I know this because of the gratifying YouTube videos he has been creating for a year now: just him, his drum set, assorted essential paraphernalia, and a fine clear soundtrack of music and words. Here is his YouTube channel.
He’s explored the work of Gene Krupa, George Wettling, Cozy Cole, Morey Feld, Nick Fatool, Jake Hanna, and Cliff Leeman so far, and I know his one-man seminar on Buzzy Drootin is in the works.
But this wonderful solo performance caught me in many ways. Many drum solos lack a compositional shape, but not this. And in this wildly “busy” world where no one has much time for anything, this solo is forty seconds long. I urge you to take the time and immerse yourself in the world Kevin creates in honor of Cliff Leeman. I call it “three-dimensional” because not only can we hear the songs Kevin creates on Cliff’s snare drum, but we can watch the ever-changing human sculpture of his moving arms, one visible leg, and hands. Art, dear viewers.
The back covers of long-playing records (“microgroove”) that I grew up with often wooed the prospective buyer with IF YOU LIKED THIS LONG-PLAY RECORD, YOU’LL LIKE THESE — and then showed tiny cover portraits. That appeal is a long way back into the past, but if you enjoyed the video above, let me direct you to a more elaborate one: Kevin’s variations on WOLVERINE BLUES:
Such expressive music.
May your happiness increase!