Columbus Calvin “Duke” Pearson composed “Jeannine” around 1960. Cannonball Adderly released one of the earliest recorded version of the tune in his album Them Dirty Blues.
Tune in today as we celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month with some of this compositions most notable covers!
Pearson played piano from a young age, which is what inspired his uncle—a Duke Ellington fan—to give him the nickname “Duke.” He was also interested in brass instruments, but had to give them up due to a dental problem.
Pearson was an accomplished pianist and producer for Blue Note Records. He played with jazz greats such as Donald Byrd and accompanied renowned Nancy Wilson and Carmen McRae. Pearson also recorded several albums as a big band leader.
Pearson’s most popular compositions include “Jeannine,” which has been covered by hundreds of artists, “Cristo Redentor,” which he composed for Byrd’s 1963 album A New Perspective, and “Sweet Honey Bee,” which he recorded with Lee Morgan.
Pearson retired from Blue Note in the early ‘70s and went on to teach at Clark College, tour with Carmen McRae and Joe Williams, and reform his big band. Later in the decade, Pearson was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, which took his life in 1980.
There are more than 100 versions of “Jeannine.” Tune in today as we celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month with some of this compositions most notable covers!
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