Some sad news regarding one of our heroes. Cornell Dupree passed away on May 8th 2011 at his home in Ft. Worth Texas.
Our condolences go out to Irma, his wife of over 50 years, his family, his friends and fellow musicians.
A quiet giant, he was dubbed the ultimate un-showoff, and whether you know it or not, you've heard him.
He played on literally thousands of recordings, most famously with Aretha Franklin (Respect), but also with countless others including Donny Hathaway, Roberta Flack, Bill Withers and Miles Davis.
As part of his hometown band The Kingpins he arrived at Atlantic Studios in New York to record with King Curtis and quickly joined the ranks as the "first call" guitar for the entire Atlantic stable.
A master of understatement, Cornell was never known to play any note that did not augment the song. Listen to his work on Brook Benton's "Rainy Night In Georgia" A study in pure taste; note by note he added a depth of emotion that made the song an instant classic.
We first heard Cornell's name on "Memphis Soul Stew" from the 1971 "Curtis Live at the Fillmore West" album and it blew our collective socks off, right on cue: We were just about to record three tracks (The Denmark Street Sessions) and he helped inspire us to take the leap and form the yet-to-be-named Average White Band.
Fast forward to our fifth album for Atlantic, "Warmer Communications." We were privileged to have Cornell as a guest on the James Taylor song "Daddy's All Gone." His solo and tasteful fills still stand as a shining example of pure class, (you can't fake that!).
The soul of the man shines through, revealing the true gentleman that he was.
Average White Band
New York, May 2011.