George Duvivier, Bass, 1920, New York, NY
Beside playing bass, George composed and arranged extensively. At the Conservatory of Music and Art in New York he studied the violin and while still in his teens was assistant concertmaster of the Central Manhattan Symphony Orchestra. Around this time he discovered jazz and switched from the violin to the bass. Later, he studied composition at New York University, and during the early '40s he performed with Coleman Hawkins and Eddie Barefield. During the second world war George spent several years in the army, after which he became an arranger for Jimmy Lunceford. He remained with Lunceford for a short time and then joined Sy Oliver's big-band as composer and arranger. During the 1950s he toured and performed with the singers Nellie Lutcher and Lena Horne. Because of his ability to sight-read he was also much in demand for studio work, recording a number of film soundtracks and commercial jingles. From 1953 to 1957 he did a considerable amount of recording with Bud Powell. George, because of his wonderful technique, was considered by his peers to be a first-rate musician, and his ability to play in any style led to his working with leaders as diverse as Eric Dolphy, Benny Goodman, Ben Webster, and Benny Carter. Duvivier was known for his strong attack and, when playing with an orchestra, put considerable emphasis on low notes. When playing solo, however, he exhibited a fondness for rapid passages in the upper register of the instrument. George Duvivier died in 1985.
Duke Pearson, Piano/Leader, 1932, Atlanta, GA
Duke was nicknamed "Duke" by one of his uncles who admired Ellington's music. When he began his training he thought he woud be a brass player, but dental problems ruled that out, and Duke concentrated on the piano. During the second half of the '50s he worked as a pianist all around Florida and Georgia before making his move to New York where he did a considerable amount of work with Pepper Adams and Donald Byrd. He also made international tours with Nancy Wilson in the early '60s. From the mid '60s to 1970 Pearson worked as a producer for Blue Note Records. During this same period he formed a big band that rivaled the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis big band that was very popular at this time. Both bands actually used some of the same players. The orchestra provided a forum for Duke's lyrical, swing-oriented compositions. In 1971 Pearson began teaching at Clark College. In the late '70s Duke' ability to play was impaired by the onset of multiple sclerosis. Duke Pearson died in 1980.
Ike Quebec, Trumpet, 1918-63, Newark, NJ
Jack Sperling, Drums, 1922, Trenton, NJ