Duke Pearson: New Girl
Duke Pearson (piano)
Introducing Duke Pearson's Big Band (Blue Note)
Randy Brecker, Joe Shepley, Marvin Stamm (trumpets), Garnett Brown, Julian Priester, Kenny Rupp (trombones), Benny Powell (bass trombone), Jerry Dodgion, Al Gibbons (alto saxes, flutes), Frank Foster (tenor sax), Pepper Adams (baritone sax, clarinet).
Composed by Duke Pearson.
Recorded: Englewood Cliffs, NJ, December 15, 1967
Rating: 95/100 (learn more)
Duke Pearson's Big Band was a vital part of the New York jazz scene from the late 1960s to the mid '70s. This great band is largely forgotten today because it only recorded two albums and never toured much. One of the puzzling things was how much overlapping of personnel there was between Pearson's band and the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis band, as if there weren't enough talent in town to staff two big bands. It is a testament to Duke's individuality as a leader and composer-arranger – and to Bob Cranshaw's and Mickey Roker's distinctive, rock-solid rhythm work – that the two bands always sounded so different.
Duke Pearson's writing could best be described as an outgrowth and updating of the Tadd Dameron style, i.e., solid hard-bop roots with a tinge of romanticism. "New Girl" presents a memorably lyrical melody and a set of great blowing changes. Pearson's chart is colorful, swinging and to the point, and Mickey Roker stokes the fire in his own special way. Lew Tabackin and Burt Collins are the main soloists, and both are in top form. Though Tabackin's unique style is well known today, this track features him in the loping, booting Rollins-ish style that he employed when he first became prominent in New York. Burt Collins was to my mind the most underrated jazz trumpeter on the scene. Though he was one of the busiest studio players in town at the time, he was shamefully under-recorded as a soloist. This track features perhaps his finest recorded solo.
Reviewer: Kenny Berger