Cornell Dupree

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Cornell Dupree
Background information
Birth nameCornell Luther Dupree
Born(1942-12-19)December 19, 1942
Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.
DiedMay 8, 2011(2011-05-08) (aged 68)
Fort Worth, Texas
GenresJazz fusion, soul jazz, smooth jazz, crossover jazz, R&B
LabelsWounded Bird, Antilles, Kokopelli, Dialtone

Cornell Luther Dupree (December 19, 1942 – May 8, 2011)[1] was an American jazz and R&B guitarist. He worked at various times with Aretha Franklin, Bill Withers, Donny Hathaway, King Curtis, and Steve Gadd, appeared on Late Night with David Letterman,[2] and wrote a book on soul and blues guitar, Rhythm and Blues Guitar. He reportedly recorded on 2,500 sessions.[3]


Dupree seated onstage playing guitar with Bill Withers in front of him holding a microphone
Dupree at a 2008 tribute concert for Bill Withers, performing with the singer

Dupree was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas, where he graduated from I.M. Terrell High School.[4] He began his career playing in the studio band for Atlantic Records, recording albums by Aretha Franklin (Aretha Live at Fillmore West) and King Curtis[3] as a member of Curtis's band The King Pins, having grown up with King Curtis in Fort Worth). He appeared on the 1969 Lena Horne and Gábor Szabó recording and on recordings with Archie Shepp, Grover Washington Jr., Snooky Young, and Miles Davis.

He played soulful guitar on Brook Benton's hit Rainy Night in Georgia in 1970.[5] In December 1972, the British music magazine New Musical Express reported that Dupree, Roberta Flack, and Jerry Jemmott, were injured in an auto accident in Manhattan.[6] Dupree appeared on Joe Cocker's Stingray and Luxury You Can Afford. He released solo albums such as Teasin, Saturday Night Fever, Shadow Dancing, Can't Get Through, Coast to Coast, Uncle Funky, Child's Play, Bop 'n' Blues, and Unstuffed.[7]

East coast jazz fusion musicians joined Van McCoy's big hit "The Hustle"(1975). Late 1970s Dupree formed new jazz fusion group. He was a founding member of the band Stuff[2] with Eric Gale, Richard Tee, Steve Gadd, Chris Parker, and Gordon Edwards. Dupree and Tee recorded together on many occasions.

Yamaha produced a signature guitar called the Cornell Dupree Model.[8]

In 1989, Cornell recorded a video for Arlen Roth called Mastering R&B Guitar, which documented his style, technique, and influences. In 2009, Dupree appeared in a documentary entitled Still Bill, which chronicled the life and times of Bill Withers. He appeared on stage playing a guitar-led version of Grandma's Hands. Withers, at first, was sitting in the audience, but ended up joining him on stage to sing the lyrics to the song. In this part of the documentary, Dupree played his guitar on a stool, breathing using an oxygen machine, which foretold his suffering from emphysema.

Dupree died on May 8, 2011, at his home in Fort Worth, Texas. He had been waiting for a lung transplant as a result of emphysema.[9]


As leader[edit]

  • Teasin (Atlantic, 1974)
  • Cornell Dupree's Saturday Night Fever (Versatile, 1977)
  • Shadow Dancing (Versatile, 1978)
  • Coast to Coast (Antilles, 1988)
  • Can't Get Through (Amazing, 1991)
  • Child's Play (Amazing, 1993)
  • Guitar Riffs for DJs Vol. 1 (Tuff City, 1993)
  • Guitar Riffs for DJs Vol. 2 (Tuff City, 1993)
  • Bop 'n' Blues (Kokopelli, 1995)
  • Double Clutch (TKO Magnum Music, 1998)
  • I'm Alright (Dialtone, 2011)
  • Doin' Alright (P-Vine, 2011)

With Gadd Gang

  • The Gadd Gang (Columbia, 1986)
  • Here & Now (Columbia, 1988)
  • Live at the Bottom Line (A Touch, 1994)

With Rainbow

  • Crystal Green (East Wind, 1978)
  • Over Crystal Green (Eighty-Eights, 2002)
  • Harmony (Eighty-Eights, 2003)

With Stuff

  • Stuff (Warner Bros., 1976)
  • More Stuff (Warner Bros., 1977)
  • Live Stuff (Warner Bros., 1978)
  • Stuff It (Warner Bros., 1979)
  • Live in New York (Warner Bros., 1980)
  • Made in America (Bridge Gate, 1994)
  • Now (Skip, 2001)
  • Live at Montreax 1976 (Eagle, 2008)

As sideman[edit]

With Joe Cocker

With Hank Crawford

With Aretha Franklin

With Donny Hathaway

With The Joneses

  • Keepin' Up with the Joneses (Mercury, 1974)
  • Our Love Song (P-Vine, 1992)
  • Come Back to Me (P-Vine, 1993)

With Margie Joseph

  • Margie Joseph (Atlantic, 1973)
  • Sweet Surrender (Atlantic, 1974)
  • Margie (Atlantic, 1975)

With King Curtis

  • Live at Small's Paradise (Atco, 1966)
  • Get Ready (Atco, 1970)
  • Live at Fillmore West (Atco, 1971)
  • Everybody's Talkin' (Atco, 1972)
  • Blues at Montreux (Atlantic, 1973)

With Roland Kirk

With Van McCoy

  • And His Magnificent Movie Machine (H&L, 1977)
  • My Favorite (MCA, 1978)
  • Lonely Dancer (MCA, 1979)

With Geoff Muldaur

  • Is Having a Wonderful Time (Reprise Records, 1975)

With David "Fathead" Newman

With Esther Phillips

  • Burnin' (Atlantic, 1970)
  • From a Whisper to a Scream (Kudu, 1971)
  • Alone Again Naturally (Kudu, 1972)

With Wilson Pickett

  • In the Midnight Hour (Atlantic, 1965)

With Lou Rawls

  • Shades of Blue (Philadelphia International, 1980)
  • At Last (Blue Note, 1989)
  • It's Supposed to Be Fun (Blue Note, 1990)
  • Portrait of the Blues (Manhattan, 1993)

With Archie Shepp

  • Attica Blues (Impulse, 1972)
  • The Cry of My People (Impulse, 1973)
  • The Impulse Story (Impulse!, 2006)

With Stanley Turrentine

With Zulema

  • Zulema (Sussex, 1972)
  • R.S.V.P. (RCA Victor, 1975)
  • Z-licious (London, 1978)

With others


  1. ^ Peter Keepnews (May 14, 2011). "Cornell Dupree, Guitarist and Sideman to the Stars, Dies at 68". The New York Times.
  2. ^ a b - accessed May 2011
  3. ^ a b Huey, Steve. "Cornell Dupree: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-04-09.
  4. ^ Texas Senate (May 25, 2011). "Senate Resolution No. 1178 In Memory of Cornell Dupree, Jr". Retrieved July 25, 2012.
  5. ^ The Quiet Man Retrieved 15 March 2024
  6. ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books. p. 245. CN 5585.
  7. ^ Cornell Dupree Allmusic Retrieved 21 February 2024
  8. ^ "Pacifica 1512CD". 2002-06-14. Archived from the original on June 14, 2002. Retrieved 2016-05-20.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  9. ^ Terence McArdle (May 10, 2011). "Cornell Dupree, rhythm-and-blues guitarist, dies at 68". The Washington Post.

External links[edit]