Kevin Dorsey
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Kevin Dorsey

Auburn, New York, United States | INDIE | AFM

Auburn, New York, United States | INDIE | AFM
Band Folk World


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"Dorsey Rocks For Hospice"

Kevin Dorsey is exploring new territory.

The Auburn musician and educator has long been known for his work as a jazz bassist. But after facing a deeply personal event, Dorsey has been writing songs of a more traditional nature.

Songs with words, for instance.

“People love words,” Dorsey said, half joking, during an interview this week. “I'm going to be singing them, for better or worse.”

Local music fans will be able to hear Dorsey sing those songs Friday, March 27, at the Auburn Public Theater. He and a handful of musicians will come together for the official release party of his newest CD, “FORE!”

The concert will also serve as a benefit for Hospice of the Finger Lakes, an organization to which Dorsey has many personal connections.

The new CD, which was has been available for a few months now, features songs that are influenced by Celtic and Americana traditions. The styles of music were favorites of his father, who Dorsey said he remembers used to sing and play music when he was a child.

So when his father passed away in 2007, Dorsey began playing on his dad's guitar and writing songs based on the memories and experiences that came to the surface, he said.

The songs were a departure for Dorsey on multiple levels.

While Dorsey said he has always been a fan of musicians like Alison Krauss and the Kingston Trio, he has not written many tunes in the past that have been influenced by their work. And he has began to explore influences like Celtic folk, which can be seen as much as heard when he uses unconventional instruments such as the bouzouki, which plays like a large mandolin.

This is also the first time in more than a decade, he added, that he has drawn from such personal, emotional places.

“For me, this was a real cathartic experience,” Dorsey said. “But this is the statement I wanted to make.”

Doresy is also making a statement for Hospice of the Finger Lakes. Dorsey's father was a frequent volunteer for the program, and his step-mother a nurse.

His job as a music educator in Syracuse and his work as a musician take up much of the time and energy that could otherwise go toward volunteering, he said. But he knew there was a way to contribute to what he calls a very worthy and helpful organization.

“I know how to put an instrument in my hand and play,” Dorsey said. “I knew this was the way I could volunteer.” - Christopher Caskey/ The Citizen

"Lending A Hand"

Auburn musician Kevin Dorsey knows all too well the impact Hospice of the Finger Lakes can have on the lives of the people the facility cares for, as well as the lives of the families touched by hospice.

Dorsey said that his father, Jim was a long time volunteer for hospice and his step-mother, Valerie, also worked as a nurse for hospice.

“Through my dad and my step-mom I knew a little bit about what they did,” Dorsey said. “And I get to see it in action. My dad wasn#'t on hospice care officially, but I got to see what it does and I think that it is a great thing they do to help people and families in a difficult time.”

Dorsey#'s father passed away in 2007, but even before Dorsey knew of his father#'s illness, he was planning on getting involved in lending a hand to hospice.

“In April we were talking about setting up a meeting,” Dorsey said. “I wanted to do something as a fundraiser for them.”

Dorsey, who is an accomplished musician, well known as a bass player and trumpet player, Dorsey who holds a masters of music in studio jazz writing from the University of Miami and is a music instructor at the Seymour Dual Language Academy in Syracuse, found a means to cope with the loss of his father through his music.

“My step-mom gave me a guitar we had bought for him a couple of years ago,” Dorsey said. “I brought it to school with me and I would play it every day and I slowly began writing these songs a little bit at a time and all these fragments started developing in the course of a little over a year.”

Dorsey, who is also an accomplished composer with more than 100 pieces to his credit ranging from duos to symphony orchestra pieces, said that writing on his father's guitar was a new and cathartic experience.

“I'm a bass player,” Dorsey said. “And normally I work the music I write out on the piano, so this was different and the songs came out different. I was thinking about my dad a lot. I think it helped with the grieving process, but I think it also helped me to realize that this wasn#'t the final word on those feelings and it wasn',t the final word on him either, but that this was a statement about him and about those feelings in these songs.”

Dorsey said that while much of his own work has focused on jazz based music and composition; he found that while writing music with his father#'s guitar, using a different instrument and with all the thoughts and feelings that were in his head and heart, he found the music coming out in new ways.

“It is something different than I would normally write,” Dorsey said. “There is a Celtic, folk kind of quality to these songs. My dad was a big fan of American folk music, like the Kingston Trio and some of these songs came out with the kind of feel. I think that it is a fitting tribute to my father, it is the kind of music he liked.”

Once the songs were composed, Dorsey began the recoding process at his home studio recording the basic demos and many of the basic tracks himself before sending the demos on some of his friends in the local music community.

The CD, “Fore! A Hospice of the Finger Lakes Benefit,” a titled again inspired by his father#'s love of golf, features many talents artists adding their talents to the 10 tracks that comprise the CD.

Dorsey enlisted the help of people such as percussionist GD Bower, as well as guitarist Loren Barrigar and fiddler Amy Christian.

Dorsey said that while he recorded much of the music himself, the other musicians added their valuable expertise giving the recordings a special kind of quality.

While the CD was officially released on Doresy#'s Web site and at several area stores, he said that in the spring he hopes to have a major release party to help get the word out about the CD, 75 percent of the proceeds of which go to Hospice of the Finger Lakes.

“So far without a real press release or anything sales have been pretty good,” Dorsey said. “We just wanted to try to get it out in time for the holiday season. But in late march or April we are planning on having a big celebration and performance to have a real official release.”
- Jason Gabak/ The Citizen

"CD Review"

Kevin Dorsey drove this one straight off the tee.

The notable bass player, composer and band leader from Auburn took a different musical direction than usual with "Fore!"

The jazz of the Kevin Dorsey Collective's left behind for a golden, instrumental folk/Celtic feel.

Dorsey produced the 10-song CD in the memory of his father, Jim Dorsey, a golf lover of which his loving song writes in the liner notes, likely never had to yell the cursed word of the CD title on the links.

The work will benefit Hospice of the Finger Lakes, and Dorsey provides the link to that organization's site -- -- to help spark donations.

The respect and admiration he shows for his late dad could coax music lovers into pulling out the checkbook.

Dorsey starts the collection with "Cooperstown," with a sweet fiddle at the forefront and his supple bass behind it.

In fact, Dorsey proves to be quite the able multi-instrumentalists, also tackling guitar, bouzouki, melodica, udu drum and percussion. He's enlisted great help from Loren Barrigar, GD Bower, Joe Carello, Amy Christian, Joe Davoli, Dave DeSiro, John Magnante, Greg McCrea and Bill Pomares, too.

The Irish lilt to "Patrick," written for his brother, and considerable compassion in "I'll See You Down the Road" rise to the top. "When Will I See You Again," with its lyrical guitar work, warms like a rich folk ballad. - Mark Bialczak/ The Post-Standard


Inner Journey (2003)
Live at Mirbeau (2004) EP
Gateway (2005)
A Collective Christmas (2006)
Fore! (2008)
Certitude (2009)
Resistance (2010)
Open Road (2011)



For Kevin Dorsey, great music is great music, regardless of what ‘style’ it is. In that respect, the last 5 years of his music career should be no surprise, even though he has moved away from the music that has garnered him so much attention in the past. “Jazz had been such an important part of my life for a long time. However, there came a point where I wasn’t feeling the music in my heart anymore. Folk and Celtic music took over my life, and I had to follow that path.”
Kevin Dorsey and FORE! is his first foray into the world of folk and celtic music. Combining original music, Cape Breton, Appalachian fiddle tunes and covers of such diverse artists as Solas, Lunasa, Sting, the Kingston Trio and Colin Hay, this group has quickly gained audiences wherever it goes! In addition to FORE!, Kevin has begun performing solo concerts performing on guitar, tenor guitar, bouzouki and dulcimer. In 2012, his musical focus has been on the music of Woody Guthrie in honor of the Centennial of his birth and The Kingston Trio, the music he grew up with as a child.
Kevin Dorsey is an in demand multi-instrumentalist in the Central New York Region. He holds a Masters of Music in Studio Jazz Writing from the University of Miami and a Bachelors of Music in Music Education with a Performers Certificate (on tuba!) from the Crane School of Music (SUNY Potsdam).?
Kevin has performed with such diverse artists as music legends The Drifters, modern folk artists Noah and Andrew VanNorstrand, jazz musicians Phil Woods, Chris Vadala, Miguel Zenon, Dave Samuels, Dominique Eade and Steve Slagle, avant-garde musicians Steve Swell, Hamid Drake, Jalil Moondrake and William Parker, opera singer N'Kenge Simpson-Hoffman, bandoneon virtuoso Lidia Kaminska and the Israeli Ensemble Simply Tsfat. ? Kevin teaches at LeMoyne College, Cayuga Community College and in the Syracuse City Schools. He is a voting member of The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (the Grammys). Since 2003 he has lead the Kevin Dorsey Collective, an original jazz group. The Collective has released 4 recordings, won two Syracuse Area Music Awards and can be heard on hundreds of radio stations worldwide. In addition, Kevin was a finalist in the 2010 John Lennon Songwriting Contest for his work “Innocence.”?