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Duke Pearson’s “Wahoo!” album and its categorizing

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Duke Pearson was quite an innovator and this recording is a great example, as mentioned below in the description, he wrote and composed all but the last song on this album. This album “Wahoo!” was recorded in 1964 and released the year after on the Blue Note label. The personnel and fellow musicians that accompany Duke Pearson in this recording is why it was awarded 5 stars by many so-called “jazz critics.” An all star cast with Donald Byrd (Trumpet), James Spaulding on alto, Joe Henderson on tenor, Bob Cranshaw on bass and Mickey Roker on drums. This album is considered by Allmusic reviewer, Stephen Thomas Erlewine, as an “advance hard bop” album, someone please tell me what that means? Its different and has its own style but cannot really be categorize as hard bop. It seems to me that some jazz recording are a sort of daring experiments that end out helping a new style to develop and to the point where it could stand on its own. I feel this album helped aid Post Bop into existence but of course, would never be possible without the hard bop style before it. The evolution of jazz and how it slowly developed on its own. Great album, get it!!

About the album:

A truly wonderful advanced hard bop date, Wahoo captures pianist Duke Pearson at his most adventurous and creative. With the exception of Donald Byrd’s closing “Fly Little Bird Fly,” Pearson wrote all of the material on this six-song album, and his compositions are clever, melodic, and unpredictable without being cloying or inaccessible. He has assembled a first-rate sextet to perform the material, enlisting trumpeter Byrd, tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson, bassist Bob Cranshaw, alto saxophonist/flautist James Spaulding, and drummer Mickey Roker. Even the subdued “Wahoo” and “ESP” search out new territory with their subtle themes and exploratory solo sections. ……Read More

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Biography of Duke Pearson:

Duke Pearson (August 17, 1932 – August 4, 1980) was an American jazz pianist and composer. All Music Guide notes him as being a “big part in shaping the Blue Note label’s hard bop direction in the 1960s as a producer.

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 jazz legend Duke Ellington. He attended Clack College while also playing trumpet in groups in the Atlanta area before joining the United States Army in the early 1950s. 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 of 1959. After moving to New York, Pearson gained the attention of Donald Byrd who saw Pearson performing with the 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 when and a newcomer named Herbie Hancock took over for him. This eventually led to Hancock taking over the position permanently……..Read More

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