Introducing Duke Pearson's Big Band is one of my absolute favorite Blue Note recordings. Duke is one of those guys that fell through the cracks during the 60's.
He appeared on many sessions as a pianist, and produced many Blue Note records during the 1960's
Duke lead 10 of his own sessions for the Blue Note label from 1964 to 1969.
Then after his retirement from the label another session was released, and yet a 12th date in 1996, 16 years after his death.
Introducing was released in 1968. A CD reissue from 1998 also features the other big band sessions for Now Hear This, a hell of a deal to say the least.
Lew Tabackin and Frank Foster offer some pretty sweet saxophone work. With Bob Cranshaw on Bass and Mickey Roker in the drum chair hold down a solid foundation.
The unquestioned star here are Pearson's arrangements.They are full of life, bubbling with unpredictability. Compositions like "Ground Hog" and "New Girl" dig their way into your subconscious like the best ear worms do.
Pearson does indeed have the knack for the ear worm. Check out some of his other small group albums that feature Joe Henderson on Tenor sax, Wahoo and Sweet Honey Bee are fine examples of modern hard bop with a touch of forward thinking styles.
I found this copy at a local record store several years ago for $5.99. These late 60's early 70's Blue Notes have begun to rise quite a bit in price. The realization for me is, since I can't afford the high-end stuff selling for 4 figures, you better buy all these cheaper priced issues as much as possible.
If I see any Liberty or United Artist label Blue Note for less than 10 bucks, I don't hesitate to get it. I regularly see this particular Pearson vinyl copy selling in excess of 20 dollars.
Not to mention second and third pressings of artists like Jackie McLean and Andrew Hill are now pushing 100 bucks or more. I wish 10 years ago I would have bought all of them up just to trade or re-sell.