Duke Pearson Wahoo (1964) Liberty/Blue Note


Track Selection: Bedouin (STEREO)

Bonus: listen to one, get to listen to another  one free: Amanda (STEREO)

Request: Farewell Machelle:


Donald Byrd (tp) James Spaulding (as, fl) Joe Henderson (ts) Duke Pearson (p) Bob Cranshaw (b) Mickey Roker (d) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, November 21, 1964

The formidable line up – Donald Byrd, Joe Henderson, James Spaulding,  tells you this is no ordinary  “piano album”. This is Duke Pearson, the composer, arranger and piano player with three of New York’s finest horn players of the mid-Sixties in the front line. Four of the five tracks are Pearson compositions and the fifth from Byrd, not a standard in sight.

Befitting a composer/pianist, his style is lyrical – those sweeping arpeggios in Idle Moments come to mind – and his compositions are featured in many of Donald Byrd’s albums.He knows he is not a Monk or Evans, he envisions the piece, and adds musicians as ingredients to fulfil the recipe, chosen for their texture or degree of heat. He has picked up on eastern themes, on modal style,and the chordal vamp supplements the rhythmic percussive beat.

Pearson went on briefly to be Producer and Director in place of Alfred Lion at Blue Note under Liberty, along side Francis Wolff, until United Artists came on the scene. Blue Note was not dead, though it never recovered its stride, but there was still much good creative output in those few Liberty years, on Pearson’s watch.


“Classic Blue Note session – another extremely hard to find 4000 series LP – Highly sought-after by modal jazz fans  for Amanda, Bedouin, etc!” So says one eBay seller. This is a Liberty reissue, so not quite as hard to find, but staying on the lookout for an upgrade to the real thing.

Vinyl: Liberty BST 84191

For shame, not the 1st NY label/ ear/VAN GELDER  edition from 1965, but a close run thing, a second pressing a year or so later by Liberty. What’s a year? Or even two? Or possibly even three? Stop being so fussy.The record goes to the Forensic Lab for tests.

Pathologists Report – Results of Forensic Vinyl Examination

No VAN GELDER stamp. With the Van Gelder master still warm, Liberty paid for and own everything, someone at Liberty ships a copy tape of the Van Gelder recording off to a plant as a custom client and the plant cuts a fresh master, hence no VAN GELDER runout stamp (unlike almost all Liberty which have the stamp).

The label printing is also third-party sourced, no circle around the R of the registered trademark. There were only around a half-dozen specialist printing companies in the country that printed record labels and this was not from Blue Note’s classic supplier.

The cover is a fresh Liberty print-run., with the tiny Liberty logo and catalogue number in a small  font, and no NY address.The vinyl weight, at 138 gm, is at the low-end of the scale, but thankfully there is no sign of the dreaded ” Entertainment from Transamerica” logo.

As a result of all this, I can confidently date this copy as late 1967. That’s what Goldmine says too, but not why.  What other blog gives you this huge amount of  forensic depth? Who on earth would want it?

Labels: bare but for the catalogue number, written in  small precise hand. I bet a graphology analysis would find only a small number of individuals … by their  handwriting style … mastered these records. Possibly?


Liner Notes


Collectors Corner

Source: London second-hand record store three or so years ago..

True Confessions:

LJC-True-ConfessionsPearson’s Wahoo has sat neglected in my collection for several years, having  being played just a couple of times after purchase,when I decided that it wasn’t much to my taste.

During a re-evaluation of my Division of Liberty label, all fifty-odd Liberty records were pulled from the shelves, and several dropped onto the turntable for a second opinion.

My, how wrong could I have been? It’s great. I was probably looking for something else at the time, and hadn’t quite attuned the ear to the more modal style.

So many great discoveries are probably already sitting on your shelves at home. It’s something of a cracked record here at LJC, but memory is an unreliable friend. He tells you “you don’t like this”, when what he means is at “one time, you didn’t like this”. Not the same thing at all. The only way to know what you think of it now is to play it now. I lot happens to your musical appreciation over two to three years. Time to pull the rest of the Duke Pearson’s from the collection and take them for a spin. Nothing to lose, and potentially plenty to gain.

10 thoughts on “Duke Pearson Wahoo (1964) Liberty/Blue Note

  1. My wahoo is a stereo copy with NY USA labels but no P stamp. (Second pressing by liberty? )
    It does have the van gelder and stereo stamps 🙂

  2. Hello All Duke Pearson Aficionados.The historybooks should record the musical legacy of Duke Pearson correctly.When he is mentioned its never correct and small paragraphs.He had a prolific career.He was responsible for putting together many classes Blue Note sessions.He wore many hats Pianist,Producer,Arranger,Talent Scout .Blue Note called him there all around fix it man.Here are a few facts many may not know.The historbooks,journalists,and so called jazz historians,need to let it be recorded the way it should be.No he was not Monk,Ellington,Basie etc.But what he was,was a talented,well rounded musician.Who was fast with a pen.What he was known for,is that his touch was so soft.And he could write for small groups to make them sound like a bigband.He knew what instruments sounded good together.He wad not as famous as others.But he had a career worth writing about with all the fanfare and recognition as some of the big names.He either played,composed,arranged,or produced many classic Blue Note sessions.Heres a few of those.Grant Green/ Idle Moments.Lee Morgan/ The Side Winder.Donald Byrd,/ A New Perspective.Hank Mobley/ A Slice of the Top He always said he never wanted to be out front.All he ever wanted to do is,write and make good music.He made a name for himsel in the music world jazz.Alfred Lion kept him so busy in the studio,he hardly had time for touring.Th only overseas tour he did was with Nancy Wilson to Brazil 1961.Where he wrote his most famous tune while descending into Rio.And had wrote it before the plane had landed.His music have stood the test of time.And his musical legacy will live on in those of us who love the music he left us.I have cherished his musical legacy.And know the facts I mentioned are true.I should know as he was my mother’s only brother.Nephew of the late Duke Pearson

    • Hi there, great to hear from you, especially the story about the writing of Christo Redentor, which I had never heard before.
      When I was compiling for Blue Note in the 1990s, I would always endeavour to include something by DP when I could. His albums for the label are always enjoyable and often astounding. I could get lost inside ‘The Phantom’ and his arrangement / performance of ‘After The Rain’ is one of my all time favourite recordings by any one, he seems to wring and extra level of emotion from the piano on that one.
      If I remember correctly he was asked to arrange the music for the Duke Ellington tribute concert.
      A brilliant brilliant man.

  3. Great read. It explained a mystery to me. I have ‘Night of the Cookers vol 2’. Label reads ‘Division of Liberty’ but no Van Gelder in the deadwax. The back cover looks the same as yours. Same Liberty stamp and text, no New York address, only ‘printed in USA’. It’s very flimsy too, 115 grams …
    Now I know the story of its origin!


  4. Love this album. And I don’t know if it has anything to do with the ‘slight problem with the vinyl to MP3 TT’, but listening to the audio sample you give us here, it is 100% in mono for me: both channels left and right give the same signal.

    One other thing: the photos aren’t “clickable”. I know beggars can’t be choosers, but since I’m addicted to hi-res close ups on LJC, I need my fix… 😉

    Last but not least: “Farewell Machelle” moves me to tears every time I hear it. A short album track, but that theme… Weird how little things can grab you by the throat sometimes.

    • It’s the butler’s day off so I have had to fixed it myself,all photos now clickable, and I have added a little Christmas bonus – your track selection, my pleasure.

      The USB TT playing up is more sinister. The LP says its Stereo. “Bedouin” you reckon is mono. On several tracks Henderson’s solos (right channel) are all but inaudible on the USB TT rip so I havent uploaded them, (but sound stereo and normal when played on “Big Brother”)

      Now I don’t know whether Liberty engineers had a bad day, my USB TT is failing, or I myself am having a bad ear day. Time for a cup of tea and the thinking cap.

      • Aha, a bonus track and ‘clickable’ photos! Santa came early this year 😉 -Listening to Farewell Machelle as we speak. I may have to turn it off though; can’t sit here at the office eye watering, pretending as if I have a speck of dust in my eyes, can I?

        And about the turntable: can you ‘reset’ anything? Is the USB plug really in all the way? Or maybe the settings of the program that records the audio off the record have changed? Maybe the program records either the left channel to left and right or the right channel to left and right, or something similar? Really: if you put your head phones on, it really is the same signal in both ears, no distinction between channels when it comes to placing of instruments in the stereo image.

        Not a complaint of course, just a few suggestions 😛

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