Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Pearson, Al

Pearson, Al, trumpet; b. West Palm Beach, FL, 6 October 1937. Al was transported to Philadelphia, PA at the early age of 2 years old.

Pearson began his musical career in Philadelphia playing casual dances and shows usually for Philadelphia bandleader and saxophonist Sam Reed featuring Stevie Wonder, Four Tops, Smoky Robinson, Sammy Davis,Jr and many others. He was a recording studio musician for the Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff  Philly Sound Studios for many years. Al participated in many jazz bands led by Basie trombonist Al Gray, pianist-trumpeter-composer Owen Marshall, Jimmy Heath, and others in the Philadelphia area. The Owen Marshall small band was the background used to feature many New York musicians in the Philadelphia area such as Jimmy Heath, Clark Terry, Jackie McLean and Others.

While a young Philly musician, he played in bands with such greats as drummer Sherman Ferguson, saxophonist Sonny Fortune, bassist Alphonso Johnson, bassist Stanley Clark, saxophonist Gregory Hurbert, trumpeter Johnny Coles, saxophonist Carl and Earl Grubbs (who happened to have been John Coltran's nephews, and a lot of time was spent in New York at John's house trying to learn what was going on) and a host of others.

Al moved to Phoenix, AZ and attended and graduated from Mesa Community College. He then attended Arizona State University as a business major. Since his trade is computer science, he earned a B.S. in business and has worked in the computer field for 25 years. While in Phoenix, he was a member of the jazz band made up of facility and members of the ASU jazz band. He also worked concerts in the southwest area with Marvin Gaye during this time.

Performing in the Kansas City area, Al has had the opportunity to play in groups that have included such greats as Claude "Fiddler" Williams, Carmell Jones, Everette DeVan, Ahmad Alaadeen, Bill Caldwell, Kerry Strayer, Arch Martin, Jay McShann and many other great area musicians. Al has performed in the orchestra for several musicals in the Kansas City area, including 42nd Street, The Lena Horne Show, Patty La Belle, and the Tiffany's Attic production of One Mo' Time. He is currently a member of the Trilogy Big Band, the Vince Bilardo Orchestra, Mike McGraw's Boulevard Big Band and Dean Stringers River City Orchestra in Kansas City. Al has also recorded with Trilogy, the Boulevard Big Band and River City in Kansas City. Al has been an occasional trumpet soloist with the Johnson County Community College jazz band. He is active in the Latin music scene and plays occasionally with the groups MamboX and Flamante.

Al has performed as the trumpet player with Jay McShann at the Kansas City Blues and Jazz Festival, the Iowa Jazz Festival, Starlight Theater International Jazz Festival and various casual engagements. He was also the featured horn player with vocalist Queen Bey's quartet during their college tour of several states in the Midwest and south. He continues to work with Ms Bey and Jay McShann whenever possible.

Most recently he has had the occasion to work with saxophonist Arthur Blythe. His latest release is entitled 'Bout Time and features saxophonist Bobby Watson on many of the cuts. Information on latest release can be obtained from www.nvmusic.com

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