Tune in weekday mornings for Stories of Standards to hear our favorite versions of “Jeannine.” Rodney Franks presents Stories of Standards Monday through Friday at 7:50 and 8:50 a.m.!

Stories of Standards is sponsored by ListenUp.

“Jeannine” was composed by Duke Pearson in 1960 and an early cover appears on the Cannonball Adderley album “Them Dirty Blues,” recorded in February 1960. Donald Byrd’s cover appeared on his November 1960 album “At the Half-Note Café.” Several vocal versions with lyrics by Oscar Brown, Jr. were also recorded.

Columbus Calvin (Duke) Pearson (17 Aug 1932-4 Aug 1980) started his musical training at age five on piano, and was nicknamed Duke by his uncle, a fan of Duke Ellington’s. Pearson went to brass instruments (mellophone, baritone and trumpet) as a teenager. While in the Army (1953-1954) he met Wynton Kelly and was so impressed that he went back to piano. His “Tribute to Brownie”, dedicated to Clifford Brown, was recorded by the Cannonball Adderley Quintet  on their “Sophisticated Swing” album. In 1961 he went on tour to Brazil with Nancy Wilson, which inspired his composition “Cristo Redentor”. He had also joined the Donald Byrd-Pepper Adams Quintet. Pearson became ill and newcomer Herbie Hancock filled in for him, eventually taking the position permanently. From 1961 until 1970 Pearson was a studio musician and producer for Blue Note albums, where he was influential in that label’s move to hard bop. He stopped work with Blue Note in 1971 when co-founder Frank Wolff died. Pearson taught at his alma mater Clark College in 1971. While he continued to accompany vocalists, notably Carmen McRae, in the 1970s, he spent a great deal of time fighting the effects of multiple sclerosis, though he taught at Clark College in 1971, toured with Carmen McRae and Joe Williams through 1973 and reformed his band at that time.

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