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Duke Pearson Biography

Columbus Calvin Pearson Jnr., 17 August 1932, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, d. 4 August 1980, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. After studying piano and trumpet, Pearson opted for the former and played professionally in various parts of the USA before settling in New York at the end of the 50s. Working as both performer and composer, he associated with several leading musicians, including Donald Byrd, Art Farmer, Benny Golson and Pepper Adams. In 1963 he succeeded Ike Quebec as A&R director of Blue Note Records, a post he held until 1971. During the late 60s Pearson formed a strikingly good big band from New York-based session musicians and jazzmen. The band, designed to perform his own music, made some excellent albums, notably Now Hear This. In the 70s Pearson divided his time between performing, accompanying singers such as Carmen McRae and Nancy Wilson, directing his big band and fighting against the onset of multiple sclerosis.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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