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bertrand

Duke Pearson - when did he leave Blue Note?

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The November 21 concert in the Smithsonian's Take 5 series will feature pianist Wayne Wilentz focusing on Duke Pearson's last recordings, which I loosely refer to as the 'Brazilian Years'. I am writing a short blog piece on Duke for their website, in which I am planning to focus on Duke's role as producer at Blue Note.

I am realizing that there a lot of holes in the Blue Note timeline, and a lot of inconsistencies depending on which source you use.

Ike Quebec served more or less informally as A & R man up until his death in January 1963, and this informal relationship may have started in the late 40s. Leon Mitchell was also involved for a short while between 1960 and 1962, probably in conjunction with Ike. His role is not clear. Duke Pearson took on the role after Ike died, although how formal that was is not clear either. It became more formal when Liberty was in the picture, and he discusses his role in an interview from 1969 I listened to at the Schomburg Library.

It seems the conventional wisdom was that Duke left Blue Note around the time Frank Wolff died, but that can't be right. In particular, he produced the Lee Morgan Memorial album which had to be in 1972 or later.

Duke was still involved in other reissues and compilations, I think the twofers that came out in the 70s. What is the latest date that we have for a reissue giving Duke produced credit? It may be as late as 1975. Does anyone have one of these twofers listing him as producer which would be as late as 1975?

Bertrand.

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1975 is the last date of which I am aware. It is known that Duke put out the twofer of Stanley Turrentine's 1967 sessions with a medium-size group.

Anyway, I am a big fan of Duke. His arrangements were excellent, and I like his Brasilian Blue Note sessions.

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4 hours ago, Niko said:

The latest BN production credit I can easily find is Saudade by Moacir Santos, recorded in March 1974

https://www.discogs.com/Moacir-Santos-Saudade/release/11611136

(There are other production credits from around that time, e.g., Moto Grosso Feio and Asante, but these were from albums that were recorded quite a bit earlier)

 

Interesting, this one lists Duke as producer and George Butler as Executive Producer.

1 hour ago, Shrdlu said:

1975 is the last date of which I am aware. It is known that Duke put out the twofer of Stanley Turrentine's 1967 sessions with a medium-size group.

Anyway, I am a big fan of Duke. His arrangements were excellent, and I like his Brasilian Blue Note sessions.

So that twofer is from 1975? Interesting.

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The twofer was made up of earlier/unreleased sessions that Pearson produced. What.role George Butler had as "Executive Producer" is certainly open to speculation. Every other release in that series was a compilation of previously available material.

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22 hours ago, JSngry said:

The twofer was made up of earlier/unreleased sessions that Pearson produced. What.role George Butler had as "Executive Producer" is certainly open to speculation. Every other release in that series was a compilation of previously available material.

I have also been talking to Michael Cuscuna and that Turrentine from 1975 was apparently assembled by Duke. So my guess is we can say he was still involved up to mid-70s, the Santos record is 1974.

I would like to find an exact departure date but that will be a challenge. Not sure how to find that out.

Would anyone have the following articles on Duke? Thanks!

Mark Gardner Jazz Monthly iii/8 1967

Mark Gardner Jazz Monthly no. 175 1969 (discography)

Leonard Maltin Downbeat (?) 40:7 4/12/73

Bob Rusch Cadence vi/9 September 1980

 

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Duke Pearson's nephew runs a Facebook page, "Remembering Duke Pearson." He seems to know a ton about his uncle. Why not ask him?

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6 hours ago, bertrand said:

I have also been talking to Michael Cuscuna and that Turrentine from 1975 was apparently assembled by Duke. So my guess is we can say he was still involved up to mid-70s, the Santos record is 1974.

I would like to find an exact departure date but that will be a challenge. Not sure how to find that out

Are you looking to distinguish between "involved" and "actively involved"?

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7 hours ago, Hardbopjazz said:

Duke Pearson's nephew runs a Facebook page, "Remembering Duke Pearson." He seems to know a ton about his uncle. Why not ask him?

I talk to him all the time, but he does not have all the details. He was young in the 70s.

6 hours ago, JSngry said:

Are you looking to distinguish between "involved" and "actively involved"?

Well, for the purposes of the blog, saying that his affiliation with Blue Note continued into the mid-70s is sufficient. The affiliation was obviously not as strong, but it outlasted his tenure as a recording artist. When exactly that contract was not renewed is not clear, but I don't think it was because he fell ill around that time. He still was gigging well into the 70s. When exactly he stopped gigging is another good question.

Wikipedia and others seem to think Duke was out at Blue Note the minute that Frank died, but that is clearly not true. George Butler came in and nudged Duke from a lot of his duties, but not completely as I thought up until recently.

When did George Butler come on board? Frank died in March 1971, Butler produced a Grant Green record in May. Wolff and Butler probably briefly overlapped.

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BN wasn´t BN anymore after the early 70´s. Didn´t Duke Pearson become ill of MS and died around 1980 ?  I think I remember it was written even in the regular newspapers. I have some of his albums or albums he was involved with, like "Idle Moments" and "Sweet Honey Bee" but in general if it´s about the BN label during the 60´s I don´t listen so much to those more timeless swing/Hardbop albums, but more the the more advanced stuff, what Sam Rivers, Wayne Shorter, Tony Williams etc. did……, 

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Blue Note was no longer Blue Note after Alfred retired in 1967. That is not to say that no album after he left was any good, and this is not intended as a criticism of Duke, whom I like a lot.

They can call current-day recordings "Blue Note" if they like, but it is nonsense.

So, there seems to be no advance on the 1975 date. I got that twofer a long time ago because it was the only way to hear the two Turrentine sessions (a 1979 "LT" LP was needed, to complete the sessions). Now, all that music is available on nice Japanese CDs, and Michael Cuscuna released CDs of nearly all (but not all) the tracks from the other Pearson-arranged 1967 Turrentine sessions. A fine body of material.

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7 hours ago, bertrand said:

When did George Butler come on board? Frank died in March 1971, Butler produced a Grant Green record in May. Wolff and Butler probably briefly overlapped.

Butler was already in the UA fold before getting to do blue Note: https://www.discogs.com/artist/251849-George-Butler?limit=500&page=1

1971 seems about right, check this out:

R-2409265-1457390460-1582.jpeg.jpg

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Following up to see if anyone might have the articles I listed on September 5th above. Thanks!

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I'll try to look tonight or tomorrow night, I've not forgotten entirely. Just been swamped at work. I probably have all or most of the Downbeat articles. 

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See if the Maltin/DB article is still here: What I can see at work and at home are two different things.

 

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The DownBeat article of 4/12/73 cited above, 'Duke Pearson's Back In Town', is confined to the re-emergence of his big band on Sundays at the Half Note in December 1972.  Blue Note records are mentioned just once in reference to Pearson's previous big band LPs for the label.  The only hint of future activity is that his Sunday night band might, once established, complement the Jones-Lewis band on Mondays at the Vanguard.  

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I’ve got (and actually found ) 8 out of the 9 DB issues Bertrand is looking for. But I seem to be missing 11/26/70, if anyone else has that one specifically. I can scan all the rest this week sometime, I hope.

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My friend Integriti Reeves and I will be giving a talk on Duke at the Cleveland Park Branch of the DC Public Library on Monday 11/18, at 6:30PM. Details to follow.

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Reminder: If you are in DC tonight, swing by the Cleveland Park Library for a FREE talk on Duke Pearson, 6:30PM. Including some rare audio tracked down thanks to this very board!

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2 hours ago, bertrand said:

Reminder: If you are in DC tonight, swing by the Cleveland Park Library for a FREE talk on Duke Pearson, 6:30PM. Including some rare audio tracked down thanks to this very board!

Wow. I for one would love to find out more.

Please share details when/if you can

 

I also would love to put the record straight and state I love late Duke Pearson on Blue Note.

 

Let's begin at the The Phantom...

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On 9/26/2019 at 10:58 PM, chewy-chew-chew-bean-benitez said:

Best new release of BN LA series?

Image result for pearson happen with you

An amazing album!

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On ‎11‎/‎18‎/‎2019 at 0:11 PM, bertrand said:

Reminder: If you are in DC tonight, swing by the Cleveland Park Library for a FREE talk on Duke Pearson, 6:30PM. Including some rare audio tracked down thanks to this very board!

Unfortunately, had to miss this. But I will be there Thursday for the performance. Any reason why the Smithsonian American Art Museum blurb makes no mention of Duke Pearson? Is it because there are approximately eleven people in the DC area for which "Duke Pearson" is an interesting idea/concept, and Bertrand knows all of us personally? :rolleyes:

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I will explain about the blurb at the concert.

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