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Duke Pearson
Birth name Columbus Calvin Pearson, Jr
Born August 17, 1932(1932-08-17)
Origin Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Died August 4, 1980 (aged 47)
Genres Hard bop
Soul jazz
Jazz pop
Post bop
Progressive big band
Instruments piano
Years active 1950s — 1980
Labels Blue Note
Atlantic

Duke Pearson (August 17, 1932 — August 4, 1980) was an American jazz pianist and composer. Allmusic notes him as being a "big part in shaping the Blue Note label's hard bop direction in the 1960s as a producer."[1]

Contents

History

Born Columbus Calvin Pearson, Jr. in Atlanta, Georgia, Pearson first studied brass instruments at the early age of five, but dental issues forced him to pursue another instrument, and he started to learn the piano. His budding talent moved his uncle to give him the nickname Duke, a reference to Duke Ellington.[1] He attended Clark College while also playing trumpet in groups in the Atlanta area. He joined the United States Army in the early 1950s.[2] Pearson continued to perform with different ensembles in Georgia and Florida, including with Tab Smith and Little Willie John, before he moved to New York, New York in January 1959.

In New York, Pearson gained the attention of trumpeter Donald Byrd, who saw Pearson performing with the Art Farmer/Benny Golson Sextet (also known as Jazztet). Shortly afterwards, Byrd asked him to join his newly formed band, the Donald Byrd-Pepper Adams Quintet. Pearson was also the accompanist for Nancy Wilson on tour in 1961. During that same year, Pearson became ill before a Byrd-Adams show, and a newcomer named Herbie Hancock took over for him. This eventually led to Hancock taking over the position permanently.[2]

On the 1963 Byrd album A New Perspective, Pearson arranged four tracks, including "Cristo Redentor", which became a big hit. The song, Pearson later commented, was inspired by a trip he took to Brazil while touring with Wilson.[2] Also that year, after the death of Ike Quebec, Pearson took over his position as A&R man of Blue Note.[2] From that year until 1970, Pearson was a frequent session musician and producer for numerous Blue Note albums while also recording his own albums as band leader. This was odd, since Pearson also recorded with his co-led big band with Byrd for Atlantic Records, a stipulation he made sure was in his Atlantic contract.[2] The Byrd-Pearson band consisted of musicians such as Chick Corea, Pepper Adams, Randy Brecker, and Garnett Brown; the latter three were members also of the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis band that played the same night club, The Village Vanguard, but on different nights. Between the two ensembles, the musicians performed at their own discretion.

Pearson's compositions include the now standard, frequently covered "Jeannine", composed c. 1960, an early cover of which appears on the Cannonball Adderley album Them Dirty Blues (1960).

Pearson eventually retired from his position with Blue Note in 1971 after personnel changes were made; co-founder Alfred Lion retired in 1967 after the label was sold to Liberty Records the previous year and co-founder Frank Wolff died in 1971. Pearson opted to teach at Clark College in 1971, toured with Carmen McRae and Joe Williams through 1973, and eventually reformed his big band during that time.

He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in the 1970s, from which he died in 1980 at Atlanta Veterans Hospital.[2]

Discography

  • 1959 Profile — Blue Note
  • 1959 Tender Feelin's — Blue Note
  • 1961 Angel EyesPolydor
  • 1961 Dedication!Prestige/OJC
  • 1961 Bags Groove — Black Lion
  • 1962 Hush! — Jazztime
  • 1964 Wahoo! — Blue Note
  • 1965 Honeybuns — Koch Jazz
  • 1966 Sweet Honey Bee — Blue Note
  • 1966 Prairie Dog — Koch Jazz
  • 1967 The Right Touch — Blue Note
  • 1967 Introducing Duke Pearson's Big Band — Blue Note
  • 1968 The Phantom — Water
  • 1968 I Don't Care Who Knows It — Blue Note
  • 1968 Now Hear This! — Blue Note
  • 1969 How Insensitive — Blue Note
  • 1969 Merry Ole Soul — Blue Note
  • 1970 It Could Only Happen with You — Blue Note
  • 2004 Sweet Honey Bee [re-release] — Blue Note
  • 2007 The Right Touch [re-release] - Blue Note

References

External links

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Duke Pearson
Birth name Columbus Calvin Pearson, Jr
Born August 17, 1932(1932-08-17)
Origin Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Died August 4, 1980 (aged 47)
Genres Hard bop
Soul jazz
Jazz pop
Post bop
Progressive big band
Instruments piano
Years active 1950s — 1980
Labels Blue Note
Atlantic

Duke Pearson (Atlanta, Georgia, August 17, 1932 — August 4, 1980) was an American jazz pianist and composer. Allmusic notes him as being a "big part in shaping the Blue Note label's hard bop direction in the 1960s as a producer."[1]

Contents

History

Born Columbus Calvin Pearson, Jr. in Atlanta, Georgia, Pearson first studied brass instruments at the early age of five, but dental issues forced him to pursue another instrument, and he started to learn the piano. His budding talent moved his uncle to give him the nickname Duke, a reference to Duke Ellington.[1] He attended Clark College while also playing trumpet in groups in the Atlanta area. He joined the United States Army in the early 1950s.[2] Pearson continued to perform with different ensembles in Georgia and Florida, including with Tab Smith and Little Willie John, before he moved to New York, New York in January 1959.

In New York, Pearson gained the attention of trumpeter Donald Byrd, who saw Pearson performing with the Art Farmer/Benny Golson Sextet (also known as Jazztet). Shortly afterwards, Byrd asked him to join his newly formed band, the Donald Byrd-Pepper Adams Quintet. Pearson was also the accompanist for Nancy Wilson on tour in 1961. During that same year, Pearson became ill before a Byrd-Adams show, and a newcomer named Herbie Hancock took over for him. This eventually led to Hancock taking over the position permanently.[2]

On the 1963 Byrd album A New Perspective, Pearson arranged four tracks, including "Cristo Redentor", which became a big hit. The song, Pearson later commented, was inspired by a trip he took to Brazil while touring with Wilson.[2] Also that year, after the death of Ike Quebec, Pearson took over his position as A&R man of Blue Note.[2] From that year until 1970, Pearson was a frequent session musician and producer for numerous Blue Note albums while also recording his own albums as band leader. This was odd, since Pearson also recorded with his co-led big band with Byrd for Atlantic Records, a stipulation he made sure was in his Atlantic contract.[2] The Byrd-Pearson band consisted of musicians such as Chick Corea, Pepper Adams, Randy Brecker, and Garnett Brown; the latter three were members also of the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis band that played the same night club, The Village Vanguard, but on different nights. Between the two ensembles, the musicians performed at their own discretion.

Pearson's compositions include the now standard, frequently covered "Jeannine", composed c. 1960, an early cover of which appears on the Cannonball Adderley album Them Dirty Blues (1960).

Pearson eventually retired from his position with Blue Note in 1971 after personnel changes were made; co-founder Alfred Lion retired in 1967 after the label was sold to Liberty Records the previous year and co-founder Frank Wolff died in 1971. Pearson opted to teach at Clark College in 1971, toured with Carmen McRae and Joe Williams through 1973, and eventually reformed his big band during that time.

He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in the 1970s, from which he died in 1980 at Atlanta Veterans Hospital.[2]

Discography

As leader

As sideman

With Donald Byrd

With Johnny Coles

  • Little Johnny C (1963)

With Grant Green

With Bobby Hutcherson

  • The Kicker (1963)

With Thad Jones/Pepper Adams

  • Mean What You Say (1966)

With Carmen McRae

  • Carmen (1972)

As Arranger

References

External links


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