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Introducing Duke Pearson's Big Band (1967)

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Pepper Adams

Duke Pearson had always displayed a flair for arranging, even on small combo albums, so it shouldn't have come as a surprise that he would attempt his own big band record. What is a surprise is how successful Introducing Duke Pearson's Big Band actually is. Pearson leads 13 other musicians through a selection of nine songs, including four originals, two contemporary jazz tunes by Chick Corea and Joe Sample, and three standards. His originals are continually unpredictable and memorable, and his arrangements, especially of the standards, are provocative and intriguing. While it might not appeal to fans of Pearson's wonderful small-group hard bop sessions, it is unquestionably an experiment that works, and one that confirms his remarkable skills and talents. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine