Swingadelic: The Other Duke: Tribute To Duke Pearson (2011)
The Other Duke: Tribute To Duke Pearson is Swingadelic's debut for the Zoho Music label, and this little big band that packs a mean punch does right by the multi-talented Duke Pearson. as they take on his easy-to-love tunes. The genesis for this project was bassist Dave Post's love for Pearson's music, but the entire band and its regular audience at Maxwell's in Hoboken, New Jersey, had no trouble buying into the pianist's compositions, so an album-length tribute seemed to be in order. Post and saxophonist/flautist Paul Carlon are the primary arrangers for the project, but trombonist Rob Susman, trombonist Rob Edwards and alto saxophonist Audrey Welber each contribute one arrangement, helping to lend different perspectives to Pearson's work.
During Pearson's prime, he managed to create music that touched on rock, the blues, hard bop and Latin stylings of the day, traditional sources of swing and more, and all of that comes through loud and clear on The Other Duke. Southern boogaloo blues rock, with ballsy trombone and guitar solos ("Mississippi Dip") sits comfortably next to Latin-leaning music that fuses a Tijuana Brass aesthetic with a "Soul Bossa Nova"-type vibe ("Chili Peppers"). Pearson's association with trumpeter Donald Byrd comes into play with "Duke's Mixture," "Sudel" and "Cristo Redentor," but the pianist's own Sweet Honey Bee (Blue Note, 1966) would also seem to be a major source of inspiration for Swingadelic. A Count Basie-meets Ellington-style swinger with superb plunger-muted trumpet ("Big Bertha"), a flute feature with a sly sound ("Sweet Honey Bee"), and a number that frames Post's bass work within a collection of short, swinging riffs ("Ready Rudy") all come from this gem of an album.
While it's highly unlikely that Pearson will ever usurp the top spot on the Duke list, he certainly deserves to be considered better than second-rate. He made many invaluable contributions to jazz and his music wasto quote Ellington"beyond category." Now, thanks to Dave Post and the rest of the Swingadelic crew, Duke Pearson's music can be heard anew.
Track Listing: Mississippi Dip; Chili Peppers; Criosto Redentor; Jeannine; Big Bertha; Sweet Honey Bee; Duke's Mixture; Sudel; Ready Rudy; New Time Shuffle.
Personnel: Audrey Welber: alto saxophone; Paul Carlon: tenor saxophone, flute; Jeff Hackworth: baritone saxophone; Albert Leusink: trumpet; Carlos Francis: trumpet; Rob Susman: trombone; Rob Edwards: trombone; Boo Reiners: guitar; John Bauers: piano; Dave Post: bass; Paul Pizzuti: drums.
Record Label: Zoho Music
Style: Big Band