The Other Duke

Released: 2011
Label: ZOHO Music

1. Mississippi Dip
2. Chili Peppers
3. Cristo Redentor
4. Jeannine
5. Big Bertha
6. Sweet Honey Bee
7. Duke's Mixture
8. Sudel
9. Ready Rudy
10. New Time Shuffle


Duke Pearson was a pianist, composer, and bandleader active in the 1960s; he also produced some of the Blue Note label's significant hard bop recordings. For this album the 11-piece Swingadelic band has arranged ten tunes either written by or associated with Pearson; the arrangements are inventive, the performances crisp and swinging and somwetimes very funky--note in particular the finger-snapping blues "Mississippi Dip" and the powerfully swinging Donald Byrd composition "Duke's Mixture."

-Rick Anderson, CD Hotlist, October 2011

An 11-piece band that often performs in Hoboken, New Jersey, Swingadelic pays tribute to another Blue Note touchstone, pianist-composer Duke Pearson, on The Other Duke (Zoho). Offering a set of catchy booglaoos, hard-bop romps and shuffles, they perform seven Pearson originals, including his two main hits ("Jeannine" and "Cristo Redentor"), plus three songs that he enjoyed playing. These excellent musicians - none of whom are marquee names - truly understand the music of that time peroid, and they do justice to Pearson's legacy.

-Scott Yanow, Jazziz, September 29th 2011

Swingadelic holds forth at Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ, on selected nights. A regular gig, some decent soloists and some good arrangers plying their craft on a regular basis can do wonders. We have the evidence of that in their tribute to Blue Note pianist, composer and A&R man, the late Duke Pearson, The Other Duke (Zoho 201107).
It's a straightforward, straight-ahead little big band outing that features many of Duke's most familiar tunes plus a few related ones from the dusty virtual archives of jazz memory. Hard bop funk, Blue Note boogaloo, and melodic contour pieces give you plenty to appreciate.
It's what it is. And what it is is well done. This is not groundbreaking music but it's good, solid big band and it pretty much nails some Pearson gems.

-Jim Eigo, Gapplegate Music Review, October 6th 2011

Back in 2000, bassist-arranger Dave Post put together an 11-piece ensemble to play the music of pianist-composer and former Blue Note A&R man Duke Pearson. The band scores direct hits on the lazy boogaloo "Mississippi Dip," featuring a snaking slide solo by guitarist Boo Reiners; on a swinging rendition of Pearson's best known piece, "Jeannine," featuring a great bari solo by Jeff Hackworth; and on a lush rendition of Pearson's moody "Cristo Redentor." Tenor saxophonist Paul Carlon, the other principal arranger for this little-big-band, solos with bold tones and fluid ideas on "Big Bertha," a jumping number in the tradition of the Ellington "jungle band." "Duke's Mixture" is a relaxed, Basie-styled blues, and "Ready Rudy," Pearson's ode to legendary engineer Rudy Van Gelder, is a flat-out gem.

-Bill Millkowski, JazzTimes Magazine, September 27th, 2011

When it comes to jazz tribute albums, there are countless titles to choose from, in a what seems like an endless amount of variations. Fortunately there are some great ones, and I do not mind saying that The Other Duke (Zoho) is a great tribute album by Swingadelic, honoring the music and legacy of Duke Pearson.
If you know of Pearson's influence and importance in jazz music, you can easily see how intimidating a project like this could be, but instead it's an album that approaches Pearson's music with ease. It helps that the members of Swingadelic not only play well individually and as a group, but some of them have done considerable amounts of session work and touring with some respected names. On The Other Duke, they take on tracks like "Sudel", "Chili Peppers" (the guitar solo by Boo Reiners will make you jump up wherever you may be and just dance), and "Big Bertha", the band (eleven members total) play as if Pearson was there to guide them, in the hopes of him joining them along for the ride. Perhaps in spirit he did just that, and I think he would be happy with the results here, from the musicianship to the production by Dave Post. I love jazz in many varieties, but when some of those varieties sound and feel good, it doesn't need to be explained (even though I did just that).

-This is Book's Music, May 24th 2011

Fun. This is the first adjective that comes to mind after listening to the ten tracks of The Other Duke - Tribute to Duke Pearson, the new work Swingadelic signed. This is because the music of pianist and composer Duke Pearson, lauded here in a very faithful to the original features, carries within itself a contagious vitality and a strong sense of movement, constantly evolving.
Album opens with the sly "Mississippi Dip," where horns and guitar weave a beautiful melody, and then move on to the dance "Chili Peppers," which contrasts with the alternation in good earnest "Cristo Redentor" with its lilting gait and solemn. It is the bubbly "Big Bertha" to be one of the passages of greatest appeal of the entire lineup, because of the great interaction between the elements of the ensemble that move on the score as if they were pawns directional by a skilled chess player. Also to be noted the success of "Ready Rudy" - the fourth track, along with "Big Bertha," "Sweet Honey Bee" and "Sudel" taken from Pearson Sweet Honey Bee - for themselves and for the intensity of the strong sense of swing that is felt for the entire run.
These are songs that are carrying a vintage charm, but that Swingadelic can interpret with precision and passion, making it very cool - because the approach was exuberant - even today.

-Roberto Paviglianiti, All About Jazz (Italy), April 17th, 2012

New Jersey-based Swingadelic describes itself as a "swing band" with elements of blues, soul, hard bop and funk thrown into the blender. There's certainly a lot of each on The Other Duke, Swingadelic's warm salute to the late Duke Pearson, much of which revisits Pearson's soul-drenched charts from the 1960s and 1970s. Best-known among them are "Jeannine," which has become a jazz standard, and the sauntering "Cristo Redentor," named after the celebrated statue of Christ in Corcovado. Pearson wrote all the others save for "Mississippi Dip" (George Andrews), "Duke's Mixture" (Donald Byrd) and "New Time Shuffle" (Joe Sample). "Shuffle" first appeared on the album Introducing the Duke Pearson Big Band (Blue Note, 1967), as did "Mississippi Dip."
While Swingadelic barely qualifies as a big band, it coaxes a full-bodied sound from a mini-lineup of two trumpets, two trombones, three saxophones and four-member rhythm section. The band has been together for some years now, performing at dances, parties, fund-raisers, picnics, weddings and other events in the New York City area and beyond, and the experience pays off here, shaping a performance that is assertive and clean. If there's a downside, it lies in the chance that a steady diet of "soul food" may leave some listeners engorged. They should be apprised of what is on the menu before ordering the first course.
Having said that, it should be pointed out that the "food" is certainly well-cooked, as Swingadelic's hard-working chefs do their utmost to garnish Pearson's comestibles with the utmost care. The session opens with the romping boogaloo "Mississippi Dip," arranged by leader / tenor saxophonist Paul Carlon, then dispatches some spicy "Chili Peppers" before moving on to "Cristo Redentor" and "Jeannine." Pearson wrote the light-hearted "Big Bertha" (nice muted trumpet by Albert Leusink or Carlos Francis) and ambling "Sweet Honey Bee" (flute solo courtesy of Carlon, electric piano by John Bauers), which precede Byrd's deeply grooved "Mixture." Two more compositions by Pearson, the straight-on "Sudel" and emphatic "Ready Rudy," lead to the robust finale, Sample's "New Time Shuffle." Soloists aren't listed but there are engaging turns by Carlon, Bauers, alto Audrey Welber, baritone Jeff Hackworth, guitarist Boo Reiners and others. Reiners, Bauers, bassist Dave Post and drummer Paul Pizzuti comprise a well-oiled rhythm section.
This is a tribute that Duke Pearson would certainly have appreciated, as will those who admire the singular "Blue Note sound" of the 1960s and 1970s, earnestly re-created by Swingadelic.

-JazzWeek Chart, All About Jazz, October 17th, 2011

Yes! Before Borders’ bankruptcy, when they were aggressively sending out discount coupons, we were bitching about the lack of Duke Pearson in the racks. Sure, you could buy it for full price at Amazon, but doesn’t that defeat the purpose of 40% off coupons when you want to buy something at least 40 years old? This big band has it in the groove for this tribute to Duke Pearson that any real Pearson fan can easily put their seal of approval on. Since the cycles are getting smaller for anything to be remembered anymore, this is a real treat that this bunch would take the time to keep the memory alive. If you’re young enough to only know Pearson from samples, get to know the whole enchilada. This band are actually Pearson fans as well and the whole thing is truly incendiary. Check it out.

-Chris Specter, Midwest Record, May 2011

On this CD, the New Jersey-based band, Swingadelic, pays tribute to the nearly forgotten Duke Pearson. It was he who significantly influenced the hard bop and soul sound of Blue Note Records in the 1960s. Nine of the ten tunes here were written by Pearson; perhaps the best known is "Jeanine," a tune that has found its way into the jazz standard category. As one might suspect, there's a heavy backbeat flavor to this record, typical of Pearson's soulful approach. Other Pearson-penned entries which you might remember include "Cristo Redentor," "Sweet Honey Bee" and "Big Bertha," my fave on the album and a tune that resembles the writing of the Duke named Ellington. Swingadelic is comprised of 11 musicians, none of whom were familiar to me. However, they sound as though they're having a ripping good time interpreting the music of Pearson.

-George Fendel and Kyle O'Brien, Jazz Society of Oregon

Swingadelic has a standing Monday night gig at the New Jersey club Maxwells, which surely makes this band the greatest thing to come out of Hoboken since they built the Lincoln Tunnel. These eleven musicians—a smallish big band—blow an enormous amount of sound out of The Other Duke, a collection of Duke Pearson songs with new arrangements. Pearson was a great pianist who both led small and large ensembles and was an A&R representative for Blue Note in the 1960s. His legacy is a solid collection of compositions that are ripe for interpretation.
The first noteworthy impact of this record is its texture: lush, fat, bottom-heavy with reeds and layers of deep brass. It's an enveloping sound that spreads out from the speakers in a magnificent illusion of space. The opener, "Mississippi Dip," features a notable sound rarely heard on a jazz album: slide guitar. But it is a blues, so Boo Reiner rides over the strings of his guitar and the arrangement behind him, tossing out something at once delightfully fresh and completely natural sounding; it's an attention-grabbing opener.
With eleven musicians on the date, all playing really well, it would be impossible to spotlight all of them, but standouts include baritone saxophonist Jeff Hackworth's terrifically melodic Statement on "Jeanine."
"Big Bertha" is a swing arrangement, straight and true, with an unidentified trumpet adding to the period feel, with some great Bubber Miley plunger-mute growls that could be right out of Duke Ellington's legendary Jungle Music period. Breaking the pace down, "Sweet Honey Bee" utilizes flute and electric piano to drive a softly swinging, 1960s go-go boot lounge vibe. "Duke's Mixture," one of Pearson's most recognizable melodies, brings up the higher-ranged brass as the trumpets wail, but over a highly skilled and finely layered arrangement that also gives pianist John Bauers a chance to show off a little.
But at the end of the day, The Other Duke is truly an arranger's album. Yes, the individuals are worthy and skilled, but it's the arrangements that make this disc special. Unusually, they are the contributions of no fewer than five individual members of this band, and everyone is as good as the next with nary a clinker in sight. This is a high-impact, deep-throated, thundering band that is just fun to listen to—and certainly worth driving to Hoboken to hear.

-Greg Simmons, All About Jazz, May 24th 2011

The group Swingadelic is essentially an eleven-piece ensemble or, as bassist and band member Dave Post puts it, a “little big band” playing out of Maxwell’s jazz club in Hoboken, NJ who pay homage to that other Duke in the jazz world, pianist and composer Duke Pearson. One listen to this disc and it becomes quite apparent why Post calls the group a “little big band” because the sound produced is so much like that coming from a large big band that it is hard to believe there are only eleven players performing. The band plays seven Pearson charts and throw in three covers tunes to round out the big band sound.
Audrey Welber leads a three sax attack featuring Paul Carlon and Jeff Hackworth on the baritone while the horns contain two on trumpet and two on the bones. The cool rhythm section includes the typical piano, bass and drums along with guitarist Bob Reiners. Together these guys swing mightily and crank out first-rate big band music in style. On pieces like “Mississippi Dip” and “Big Bertha” the Swingadelic name is so apropos as the swing is in with the brass doing all the talking. Yet on one of Pearson’s most oft recorded tunes, “Jeannine,” the group bears down on a contemporary groove that brings out the full measure of this rich melody.
Pianist John Bauers does a terrific Pearson impression on Donald Byrd’s tribute “Duke’s Mixture.” Other highlights of the album include the straight jazz “Sudel,” the rowdy and boisterous “Ready Rudy” and the loud in-your-face arrangement of Joe Sample’s “New Time Shuffle.” If you like swinging big band music performed with grit and swagger, then The Other Duke will not disappoint you performed by Swingadelic, the best “little big band” around.

-Ejazznews, June 23rd, 2011

There's no doubt in my mind that you will find this 12 July 2011 release from the Zoho label to your liking if swing is your thing! Their tribute to the great (other) Duke includes fantastic tunes like the moody "Cristo Redentor," as well as the totally swinging (5:17) "Jeannine." 11 players will stun your ears on each of the ten tracks they slam down on! Pearson was clearly a giant on the jazz scene (1932-1980), and "Swingadelic" captures every little nuance of his soaring spirit and talent. Because of my boogie orientation, I found the bouncy "Big Bertha" to be my favorite track, but enjoyed every bar of every tune. Especially for fans of swing music, I give this one a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an "EQ" (energy quotient) rating of 4.97. Get more information at

-Rotcod Zzaj, Zzaj Productions, August 21st 2011

Mention "Duke" to most jazz devotees and I’ll wager most will think of Duke Ellington, while a few will think of Duke Jordan. Ah, but there was another Duke, one that likely was/is anathema to jazz purists: Duke Pearson (1932-1980), pianist, composer, arranger, and producer, chiefly active in the 1960s and contributor to many fine discs on the Blue Note label. As a composer, Pearson wrote in the hard bop vein leaning strongly towards the soul-jazz sound, wherein bop commingled with blues, gospel, and pop. (By "pop" I refer to catchy, sleek, immediately engaging melodies, not pandering to "the charts.") In a nutshell, it's as if Duke Pearson envisioned a fusion of Art Blakey and Ray Charles. The Other Duke is the New Jersey ensemble Swingadelic giving props and praise to this oft-overlooked figure in jazz. The best way to summarized Pearson's funky, no muss-no fuss artistry is via track three, the majestic, bluesy "Cristo Redentor." (It's been performed most memorably on Donald Byrd's A New Perspective album, also by David "Fathead" Newman and Ronnie Earl.) It's wistful and yearning, also noir-ish and assured-imagine Horace Silver collaborating with film composer Max Steiner or Miklos Rosza for a grand MGM '60s movie that never got made. The sax and trumpet solos are gorgeous statements of the blues, full of bittersweet ache and hope. "Jeannine" is another Pearson golden oldie, made famous by Byrd, Cannonball Adderley, Gene Harris, and many others. It manages to chug amiably while swinging with relish and, oddly enough, containing a touch of melancholy. Rob Edwards’ ‘bone swaggers in the grand tradition of Curtis Fuller and anyone that played trombone in the bands of Charles and Illinois Jacquet. If space aliens asked you, "What is this 'Blue Note sound' of which you humans speak?" You'd play for them this track to demonstrate, definitely. "Ready Rudy" puts an old-school funky spin on swinging '60s big band jazz a la Dizzy Gillespie and Woody Herman, as does "New Time Shuffle," composed by Joe Sample (an obvious accomplished acolyte). Guitarist Boo Reiners contributes a few rock-edged, blue, sharp electric solos, and the whole band plays with precision, earnestness, focus, and, yes, fun. The Other Duke is not "serious" jazz, but it's big-hearted, good-time, feelin'-fine jazz played with serious proficiency... imagine that.

-Mark Keresman, Jazz Inside Magazine, September 2011

Rare is the record company with a diverse artist roster that nonetheless boasts a collectively distinct musical persona. With in rock and roll and rhythm and blues circles, the Red Bird/Blue Cat family of labels is certainly one such example, as are Cameo/Parkway, Hideout, Sun, Phillies and Chess/Checker/Argo/Cadet.
In jazz, few labels hold that distinction as well as Alfred Lion, Francis Wolff and Max Margulis' New York-based Blue Note Records. Such preeminence arguably received its most interesting test in 2011 with the addition of veteran actor and aspiring country rocker, Jeff Bridges to the Blue Note stable of artists.
But since its inception in 1939, the vast majority of Blue Note's artist roster has emphasized jazz visionaries whose work is grounded to varying degrees in the hard bop ethic. In that respect, Blue Note has served as recording home throughout the decades to such genre front runners as Art Blakey, Horace Silver, Lou Donaldson, John Coltrane, Julian "Cannonball" Adderley, Bud Powell, Dizzy Reece, Herbie Hancock, Stanley Turrentine and Cliffor d Jordan.
All of which makes the subject of this tribute somewhat of a dichotomy. Atlanta, Georgia's Columbus Calvin "Duke" Pearson Jr. was, by comparison, somewhat more conventional in his mission statement in that his penchant for perfection and technical excellence was nonetheless grounded in the venerable verse, chorus and bridge template.
A remarkably gifted musician (trumpet/keyboards), composer and arranger, the Clark College alumnus further defied expectations by succeeding the late tenor saxophonist and labelmate, Ike Quebec as Director of A&R for Blue Note in 1963. Pearson held that position until 1971, when he opted to join the faculty of his alma mater as a professor. That Pearson executed his Blue Note responsibilities in tandem with his own recording ventures as a big band leader with Donald Byrd for Atlantic Records continues to speak volumes for his resolve and uncompromising vision.
Pearson's legacy was not lost on the eleven-member New York City ensemble, Swingadelic, whose The Other Duke - Tribute To Duke Pearson certainly does the subject of its affection justice. To wit, Mississippi Dip (from Introducing The Duke Pearson Big Band on Blue Note BST-84276) is as endearing a hybrid of Riverside-era Mongo Santamaria and Philly Soul as can be found anywhere. Given that any attempts at revision would ultimately be an exercise in futility, Swingadelic astutely opted for a primarily faithful rendition.
"This was one of the first big bands I recall hearing which combined elements of rock and Latin music along with more straight-ahead swinging fare," said Swingadelic bassist and spokesman, Dave Post.
"Here we added a little 'southern soul' slide guitar."
In turn Chili Peppers (which originally appeared on The Right Touch on Blue Note BST-74220) sails along with the samba-flavored abandon of the original, just as Cristo Redentor (which made its greatest mark as a part of Donald Byrd's 1963 Pearson-arranged A New Perspective album on Blue Note BST-4124) demonstrates the majesty of Christ as Redeemer (as the title infers) with its comparatively subdued arrangement and reverential execution. The keyboard friendly romp, Big Bertha follows suit, as do the swing-friendly Ready Rudy (whose resemblance to the Charlie Parker/Dizzy Gillespie summit meeting, Hot House was likely inten tional on Pearson’s part) and the commanding reading of New Time Shuffle, which Pearson previously arranged and produced for Stanley Turrentine as the title track for the latter's album of the same name on Blue Note LT993.
To their considerable credit, Swingadelic has undertaken this project with not only a healthy respect for Pearson (who sadly passed away from multiple sclerosis in an Atlanta hospital on 04 August 1980, just thirteen days prior to his forty-eighth birthday), but for their long time colleague and bandmate, Buddy Terry. A veteran of Pearson's Big Band, Terry worked with Swingadelic as saxophonist from 2000 to 2009 and is presently recovering from a stroke. Terry's role in Swingadelic is presently being overseen by Audrey Welber (alto) and Paul Carlton (tenor).
"With this music we send him our love," said Post in reference to Terry.
Indeed, The Other Duke - Tribute To Duke Pearson is a labor of love; one that reaches out on a variety of levels. It is no doubt one that Pearson, would concur had (in the words of one of the other standout cuts from The Right Touch), fulfilled his ongoing resolve to Make It Good.

-Michael McDowell, Blitz Magazine, September 20th, 2011

Duke Pearson was a major figure in the 1960s jazz scene, as a composer, arranger, pianist, bandleader and A & R man for Blue Note Records. He wrote tunes that have become standards ("Jeannine," "Cristo Redentor") and he helped to create the Blue Note signature sound of the period, the mix of hard bop and soul jazz remembered so fondly by fans of the time. It should be no surprise to see a tribute album, and Swingadelic has stepped up to do just that.
Swingadelic is currently an eleven-piece band led by Dave Post, holding down a regular gig at Maxwell's in Hoboken, New Jersey. This is their fifth album and their first for Zoho. In the past, they have concentrated on a combination of jump blues, Latin grooves and big band swing, but here they have certainly changed their sound, leaving some things behind for Pearson, but gaining a lot in the process. This album is by far their most sophisticated and conceptually satisfying, which combined with their label switch, should move them to the national level.
The whole album has a sixties vibe to it, partly reflecting the time when Pearson wrote the songs, but the band plays to the time as well, sticking to a hard bop/soul jazz style that stays close to home but feels just right. While Post does the arrangements on three of the ten tunes, Paul Carlon arranges four, and three other band members contribute one each. Seven of the tracks were penned by Pearson, the other three having been recorded by him.
The band performs splendidly, as one might expect since the members play together regularly, but they are remarkably tight too. Sooner or later, everybody gets to solo, especially Welber and Carlon on saxophones and Reiners on guitar. Unfortunately, the liner notes don't list which trumpeter or trombonist is fronting when, so it's difficult to assign accolades to them, but they all do a fine job. They mix tempos and moods. "Jeannine" is an uptempo hard bop workout that gives Jeff Hackworth, the baritone sax player and a trombonist room to stretch out, while "Cristo Redentor" is a slow blues burner that features trumpet and sax interplay that is just delightful.
Some tunes are better than others, and the "bunny hop" feel of "Duke's Mixture" could have been sidestepped. "Ready Rudy" seems dragged down a bit by the trombones. Overall though, the album is consistently well done and should be enjoyed by those who are fond of the bands led by Pearson and Donald Byrd, and the hard bop style of 1960s Blue Note recordings.

-Jeff Wanser,, August 24th 2011

If swing is your thing, then Swingadelic's The Other Duke is surely one for your collection. The 11-piece "little big band" from Hoboken, NJ pays tribute to the famous American pianist and jazz composer Duke Pearson on this electric album.
Though they make albums, Swingadelic's main gig is providing entertainment for weddings and parties. They certainly do a fine job honoring the flair Pearson had for arranging pieces in a way that helped shaped the "hard bop" sound for Blue Note Records. He was a heavy hitter on the jazz scene in the 60's and 70's, leading his band and composing.
The Other Duke is a collection of Pearson's compositions and favorites with the twist of Swingadelic's members. They all have years of experience and expertise under their belts which is perfectly exemplified here. All the tracks are tight and clean cut; the sounds are crisp and the instruments work with each other like a well oiled machine.
“"Mississippi Dip," quite fittingly the opening track originally from the LP, Introducing The Duke Pearson Band, has a boogaloo feel with a twinge of mambo flavor. It leads us into "Chili Peppers," an upbeat, spicy number that somehow leaves you with a feeling of slight foreboding. "Christo Redentor," Pearson's most famous song, slows it down and gives us some sweet saxophone that hasn't been too prevalent up until now, at least in solo work.
"Sweet Honey Bee" changes up the sound with more of a two-step sound, putting the flute on display. It's a light, fun song you can really shake to. If you want pure swing, turn up "Big Bertha" and get ready to dance. "New Time Shuffle" takes us out of the swingin' 60's era on a high note.
Swingadelic does a fantastic job honoring the man who made such an impact on the genre through his compositions and unique sound. The feel of The Other Duke is something different: an eclectic and unique layering of instruments that truly make this album a pleasure to listen to.

-Christen LaFond,, September 6th 2011

Pianist-composer Duke Pearson (1932-1980) was quite active during the 1960s, releasing more than a dozen albums throughout the decade. Among several artists he recorded with as a sideman, Pearson worked extensively with trumpeter Donald Byrd. He was an A&R man for the famed Blue Note Records from 1963-1971. New York City-based big band Swingadelic has honored Pearson with their latest release, The Other Duke - Tribute to Duke Pearson.
Most of the ten arrangements are the either the work of Swingadelic bassist Dave Post, who also produced the album, or tenor sax/flutist Paul Carlon. Of the ten tunes, seven of them are Duke Pearson originals, including his best-known tune, "Jeannine." The band performs very professionally, swinging each tune convincingly. Pearson's "Big Bertha" stands out as an up-tempo tune with lots of swagger and several strong solos. Post's deft bass work is a prominent feature of the itchy "Ready Rudy." Baritone sax man Jeff Hackworth turns in some full-bodied lead breaks throughout.
Swingadelic has been gigging and recording regularly since 1998. The Other Duke - Tribute to Duke Pearson, while not a ground-shaking release, should contribute to continued steady work.

-The Other Chad, Blogcritics Music, August 7th 2011

Those that travel with me in my Elvis like "inner-circle" can appreciate if not vouch for the fact that at times I can be a tad judgemental. The politically correct term for judgemental here is "music snob." After struggling to make it past the name "Swingadelic" which brings to mind some sort of easy listening nightmare, I find myself thoroughly entertained with one of the more inventive big bands I have heard in some time.
Having recently commented on Blue Note records having officially waved goodbye to their historic past with the release of the self titled Jeff Bridges "Crazy Heart First Blood Part Two" release the irony that this group would tackle the catalog of legendary Blue Note's Renaissance man; pianist, band leader, producer, arranger composer and A&R man Duke Pierson is not lost. 
Swingadelic does not make your ears bleed with a top heavy brass section but goes for the more subtle bottom loaded saxophone push to give a nice orchestral feel which translates perfectly into this non stop release of pure musical fun and top notch performance. The release kicks off with two highly infectious numbers "Mississippi Dip" and "Chili Peppers" and then settles in for eight more tunes that are guaranteed to trip your musical trigger, if not then check your pulse. Noteworthy is the slide guitar performance on "Mississippi Dip" but the level of improvisational excellence across the board is a fitting tribute to note only Pearson but the level of musical excellence that Blue Note once stood for.
I would be remiss if I did not include this back story from the liner notes:This CD is dedicated to Buddy Terry, who played alto & tenor sax and sang with Swingadelic from 2000-2009 and is now recovering from a stroke. Besides working with the Ray Charles and Count Basie Orchestras, and Horace Silver and Art Blakey, Buddy played in the Duke Pearson Big Band back in the 70s, often subbing for the late Frank Foster. With this music we send him out love..."Musical Love" - perhaps the most fitting review.Hoboken Swings! Who knew!Check out the 2009 You Tube video or better yet go to

-@b2jazz,, August 19th 2011

Better known for helping shape the Blue Note Records hard bop sound as a producer in the 1960s, pianist Duke Pearson also led his own big band before succumbing to the ravages of multiple sclerosis at age 47.
Pearson displayed an underrated flair for unconventional arranging in a setting that couldn't have been further from his dates with the likes of Donald Byrd, Grant Green and Bobby Hutcherson. These forgotten contributions are brilliantly explored on The Other Duke, to be issued July 12 on Zoho Music.
That starts with a blast of boogaloo called "Mississippi Dip," highlighted not just with a boozy horn signature but with this cool-rocking, rockabilly-influenced turn on guitar by Boo Reiners. Elsewhere the song, originally featured on 1967's Introducing the Duke Pearson Big Band, includes some sizzling Latin elments. But it's Reiners' slice of Southern soul that sticks to the ribs like good barbeque.
More importantly, it's perfectly in keeping with Pearson's own genre experiments. Bassist Dave Post and tenor player Paul Carlon are credited with the bulk of these new arrangements, but altoist Audrey Welber and trombonists Rob Edwards and Rob Susman also contribute charts, and that only adds to a keen eclecticism surrounding The Other Duke.
There are rumbling Latin tunes like "Chili Peppers," featured on Pearson's The Right Touch in 1967. And muscular blues asides like "New Time Shuffle," a Joe Sample composition that was also part of the Introducing project. (Pearson produced a version of \ the track for Sample's album of the same name in 1967, too.)
In many ways, the album works as both loving tribute and Pearson primer: Christo Redentor was his biggest hit, as performed by Byrd in 1963. (Byrd also memorably performed Pearson's "Duke's Mixture" on his terrific 1961 project The Cat Walk, as well as "Sudel," both of which are included here.) "Jeannine," a bubbling soul-jazz cooker, became Pearson's jazz standard. His 1966 release Honey Bee is given new illumination by the inclusion of both the flute-driven title track, the bass-showcase "Ready Rudy" and the Basie-ish "Big Bertha."
For all of these swinging triumphs, Post and Co. won't push Pearson past Ellington amongst jazz Dukes - who could? - but they certainly makes the case for this talented pianist/arranger/producer's place in the legacy.

-Nick DeRiso, Something Else!, July 2011

On The Other Duke: A Tribute to Duke Pearson (Zoho), Swingadelic presents ten tunes, seven of them composed by Pearson, that appeared either on Pearson albums or on sessions he arranged for other Blue Note artists. Featuring prominent backbeats, shuffles or boogaloo rhythms, they sound, in significant ways, somewhat more dated than the much older songs on the Oatts CD. Pearson was important in bringing a funky, R&B and soul feel to hard bop and contemporary jazz during the 1960s. Five members of the 11-piece Swingadelic band contribute to arrangements clearly inspired by Pearson's own - and by tenor saxophonist Paul Carlon, who did the first Pearson tributes for the band and is credited with four charts here. They are robust, rollicking versions fully utilizing the deep, muscular bottom of a band where three of the seven horns are bass clef instruments (Jeff Hackworth, baritone sax; Rob Susman and Rob Edwards, trombones). Especially on the boogaloos and shuffles, the baritone's hefty rumble prevails.
The band, compositions and arrangements are the stars here, with soloists emerging and being subsumed back into the strong ensembles, or serving them as part of a bigger sound, one enhanced by cheerleader ensembles and lines behind solos, plus shout choruses, vamps and rhythmically charged riffs filling out the tunes. It all makes for solos that stand out, as if brilliantly spotlighted, without taking over. But coming close are guitarist Boo Reiners' surprisingly down home bluesy slide guitar on "Mississippi Dip," Hackworth's bari, and arranger Edward's trombone on the most famous, and famously catchy, Pearson shuffle, "Jeanine," and Carlos Francis' wah-wah trumpet solo on "Big Bertha," arranged by Carlon as if to evoke that other Duke (Ellington) at his band's most swinging. The only real ballad here is the resonantly spiritual "Cristo Redentor," heard this time without the vocal chorus of the original Pearson-Donald Byrd version, but with a raw, fervent solo from alto saxophonist Audrey Welber. A variety of arranging approaches - from flute and electric paino on "Sweet Honey Bee" to muted trumpets leading on "Ready Rudy" and paried trombones adding a bruising edge to "New Time Shuffle" - all make for an album with never a dull moment, and no clunkers. It's a fitting tribute to Duke Pearson, who made music that really connected with listeners.

-George Kanzler, Hot House Jazz, July 2011

Most four-letter words come with a negative connotation attached, but that's not always the case. When big band fans hear the word "Duke" uttered aloud, positive thoughts tend to take over and Duke Ellington immediately comes to mind. His legendary compositions and historic recordings elevated him to the very top of the jazz world, and one need only utter that four-letter word to cheer up many a big band lover. Ellington is, without a doubt, the most well-known "Duke" in jazz, but he doesn't own a monopoly on the name. Another Duke served as an A&R man for Blue Note records from 1963 to 1971, performed as a sideman on piano on a slew of recordings for the label during this period, wrote such classics as "Cristo Redentor" and "Idle Moments," and released a string of fabulous, but underappreciated recordings under his own name. This Duke often gets slighted or overlooked, but not this time.
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 was—to quote Ellington—"beyond category." Now, thanks to Dave Post and the rest of the Swingadelic crew, Duke Pearson's music can be heard anew.

-Dan Bilawsky, All About Jazz, June 26th, 2011

Though they have four other CD releases in the last decade, I was largely unaware of the New Jersey based mid-sized jazz band Swingadelic. I stood up and took notice however, when I saw that their new CD on Zoho was a tribute to Duke Pearson - the under-recognized pianist, composer, arranger, and A&R front man for Blue Note Records during their peak of popularity in the 1960s. Duke did it all for Blue Note, recording many albums, both big band and small group, down to trio size. Besides his work as a front man for Blue Note, Pearson was first featured in both Donald Byrd's band and with the Art Farmer-Benny Golson Sextet. He was later also Nancy Wilson's accompanist. During both his tenure with Blue Note and after, he also led a big band in New York that featured legends like Pepper Adams, Chick Corea, Lew Tabackin and Randy Brecker. This big band played many weekly gigs in New York City, around the recording sessions of its members.
Duke suffered through multiple sclerosis in the late 1970s and died near age 48 in 1980.
Pearson was also known as a prolific composer and many of his most famous compositions - “Cristo Redentor,” “Jeannine,” “Big Bertha,” and “Sweet Honey Bee” are featured on the Swingadelic tribute to Mr. Pearson. Pearson’s tunes were noted for their swing, melodies, and hooks that made them memorable enough that quite a few other noted jazz artists have recorded his compositions. Swingadelic also has included three other tracks that have the Pearson flavor.
“Mississippi Dip” opens the tribute. Its boogaloo vibe was featured on Duke’s big band LP, Introducing the Duke Pearson Big Band. Duke was among the first to merge rock, and Latin themes along with mainstream and hard bop rhythms. On “Mississippi Dip” Pearson introduces a theme which opens the track and then re-appears throughout the tune. It has a groove that you can really lock onto. Here Swingadelic concentrates on a trombone- driven rhythm as well as the slide guitar of Boo Reiners. John Bauers, on piano, has the Pearson piano fills done well.
“Chili Peppers” is from Pearson’s The Right Touch album of 1967. The band’s horns are powerful and the Latin rhythms are catchy. Swingadelic’s reed section shines as does guitarist Reiners again. “Cristo Redentor” follows and this tune was among Pearson’s most memorable - it was featured for sextet and choir on Duke’s A New Perspective. It became one of Duke’s biggest hits. Swingadelic’s trumpets shine here. Once you hear this track, you will be hooked, as it is sublime and serves as an effective anthem.
“Jeannine” was arguably Pearson’s most iconic standard. It has been done on albums by Cannonball Adderley, Wes Montgomery and Gene Harris among others. It’s theme is instantly recognizable. Oscar Brown, Jr. put lyrics to this song and All Music Guide shows “Jeannine” has been recorded over 125 times. Trombones are featured here and the tight ensemble blend of the group is exemplary.
“Sweet Honey Bee,” also a Pearson fixture, has Paul Carlon’s flute as well as another infectious theme. It is easy to see why Pearson was such a valuable A&R man for Blue Note as his talent for both writing and recognizing talent that could sell well is quite evident.
“Duke’s Mixture” is a blues-based swinger that Donald Byrd recorded in 1961 on The Cat Walk. Swingadelic’s version confirms their band’s name is appropriate. Jeff Hackworth on bari blows several hot choruses and his tone brings to mind Pepper Adams. “Sudel” from both Pearson’s Sweet Honey Bee album, as well as on Donald Byrd’s Groovin’ for Nat, shows the group’s ensemble playing doing Duke proud. Again the two trombones are featured.
“Ready Rudy” was written for Rudy Van Gelder, Blue Note’s iconic engineer, with whom Pearson must have had a symbiotic relationship. The trumpet solo here shines. “New Time Shuffle” closes out this disc. It was produced and arranged by Duke for Stanley Turrentine’s album of the same name. Duke also used it with his big band. It was written by Joe Sample, of the Jazz Crusaders, who knew a thing or two about soulful compositions.
I highly recommend Swingadelic’s CD for fans of Duke Pearson. It is a heartfelt tribute to a jazz master who has not received the acclaim that he was due.

-Jeff Krow, Audiophile Audition, June 13th, 2011