Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Cornell Dupree - 1974 - Teasin'

Cornell Dupree

01. Teasin' 3:54
02. Blue Nocturne 5:15
03. Jamaican Lady 3:52
04. Feel All Right 3:18
05. How Long Will It Last 3:21
06. What Would I Do Without You? 5:47
07. Okie Dokie Stomp 2:47
08. Plain Ol' Blues 8:12

Guitar, Sitar – Cornell Dupree
Baritone Saxophone – Seldon Powell (tracks: A4 to B4), Trevor Koehler (tracks: A1 to A3)
Bass – Chuck Rainey
Drums – Bernard Purdie
Keyboards – Richard Tee (tracks: A1 to A3, B1, B3 to B4)
Percussion – Ralph MacDonald
Piano – George Stubbs (tracks: B2), Paul Griffin (tracks: A4)
Tenor Saxophone – David Newman (tracks: A1 to A3), Joe Farrell (tracks: A4 to B4), Seldon Powell (tracks: A1 to A3)
Trombone – Garnett Brown
Trumpet – Ernie Royal (tracks: A4 to B4), Joe Newman, Jon Faddis (tracks: A1 to A3)

A veteran of over 2,500 recording sessions, guitarist Cornell Dupree worked most prolifically in R&B and blues, but he was equally at home in jazz, particularly funky fusion and soul-jazz. Dupree was born in Fort Worth, TX, in 1942, and by the age of 20 was playing in King Curtis' R&B group. He became a session musician soon after, playing on Brook Benton's "Rainy Night in Georgia," as well as records by stars like Lou Rawls, Paul Simon, Barbra Streisand, Harry Belafonte, Lena Horne, Roberta Flack, Joe Cocker, Michael Bolton, Mariah Carey, and countless others. Dupree was also a member of Aretha Franklin's touring band from 1967-1976, and during that time also became a presence on many jazz-funk recordings, the sort that would find favor with rare groove and acid jazz fans in the years to come. Dupree's first jazz session as a leader was 1974's Teasin', which was followed by Saturday Night Fever in 1977, and Shadow Dancing in 1978. During the same period, Dupree was a member of the studio-musician fusion supergroup Stuff, which signed with Warner Bros. in 1975 and recorded four albums. They also reunited periodically in the '80s and spawned a mid-'80s spin-off group called the Gadd Gang, which Dupree also belonged to. Some of Dupree's most rewarding jazz albums came in the late '80s and early '90s; 1988's Coast to Coast was nominated for a Grammy, and funky sessions like 1991's Can't Get Through, 1992's live Uncle Funky, and 1993's Child's Play received positive reviews. 1994's Bop 'n' Blues was his most straight-ahead jazz album, also ranking as one of his best.

Though he had been a key session player for Atlantic since the late 1960s, guitarist Cornell Dupree was finally given the opportunity to record his own date for the label in 1974. Teasin' was co-produced by Mark Meyerson and Michael Cuscuna. Dupree's band for the date was made up of ace session players including drummer Bernard "Pretty" Purdie, bassist Chuck Rainey, percussionist Ralph MacDonald, his fellow Stuff co-founder Richard Tee on keyboards, and saxophonist David "Fathead" Newman. Other horn players on various tracks include Joe Farrell, Ernie Royal, Jon Faddis, Joe Newman, Ernie Royal, Seldon Powell, and Garnett Brown. Given Dupree's pedigree, there's an unmistakable Southern Texas vibe on the set, although it was recorded in New York. It's most notable in the appropriately named "Blue Nocturne," the gospel-flavored "What Would I Do Without You," the rocking "Feel All Right," and the T-Bone Walker-influenced "Okie Dokie Stomp" (Walker was one of Dupree's biggest influences). But the guitar player's jazz-funk side gets plenty of play, too, evidenced the grooving title cut, "How Long Will It Last," and even the Caribbean-tinged "Jamaican Lady." The arrangements on these latter tunes recall the CTI sound quite a bit but are, as a whole, punchier and somewhat more dynamic. This is a feel-good date to be sure, but it features stellar musicianship, good charts, and excellent soloing from Dupree and Newman.

1 comment:

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