Wednesday, May 11, 2011

RIP Cornell Dupree

Cornell Dupree (December 19, 1942 - May 8, 2011)

R 'n B guitar legend and studio veteran Cornell Dupree had the uncanny knack of being able to make a mistake, a note slighty flubbed once in a while, and make it sound cool and funky. 

And it was this earthy quality in his playing that led me through a phase where I started to cop a bunch of Cornell's slick R 'n B licks and tasty chordal fills.  This guy could take the simple chords of a song and really start to dress them up to create a harmonic tapestry that gelled perfectly with the drums and bass, while staying well out of the keyboard player's way.  

And when Cornell did play a melody, I could immediately hear the soulful phrasing of a Roberta Flack or Donnie Hathaway.  It was human; like he was singing through his guitar -- perfection be damned!

Because at the the heart of it all, Cornell had a pocket feel so laid back it seemed like he controlled time and space from where he sat.  That was the secret sauce right there.


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