Cornell Dupree

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Cornell Dupree
File:Cornell Dupree.jpg
Cornell Dupree in 1976
Background information
Born (1942-12-19)December 19, 1942
Fort Worth, Texas
Died May 8, 2011(2011-05-08) (aged 68)
Fort Worth, Texas
Genres R&B, jazz
Occupation(s) Guitarist
Instruments Guitar
Labels Wounded 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 Bill Withers, Donny Hathaway, King Curtis and Steve Gadd, appeared on David Letterman,[2] and wrote a book on soul and blues guitar: Rhythm and Blues Guitar ISBN 0-634-00149-3. He reputedly recorded on 2,500 sessions.[3]


Dupree was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas, where he graduated from I.M. Terrell High School.[4] Dupree began his career playing in the Atlantic Records studio band, recording on 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 was a founding member of the band Stuff,[2] which featured fellow guitarist Eric Gale, Richard Tee on keyboards, Steve Gadd and Chris Parker on drums, and Gordon Edwards on bass. Dupree and Tee recorded together on many occasions. Notable albums include the aforementioned Aretha and King Curtis records, plus Joe Cocker's Stingray and Luxury You Can Afford, plus Cornell's solo albums Teasin', Saturday Night Fever (instrumental), Shadow Dancing, Can't Get Through, Coast to Coast, Uncle Funky, Child's Play, Bop 'n' Blues, and Unstuffed. He played on Brook Benton's "Rainy Night in Georgia" and "Please Send Me Someone to Love", and is featured on two tracks of Peter Wolf's 1998 album, Fool's Parade. He is also known for playing the opening guitar riff on Aretha Franklin's "Respect".[2]

In December 1972, the UK music magazine, NME, reported that Dupree, along with Roberta Flack and Jerry Jemmott, had been injured in an auto accident in Manhattan.[5]

In later years, Dupree used a Fender "red-knob" Twin Reverb and played a Yamaha signature guitar called the Dupree Super Jam (it used to be a model similar to the SJ-550 HM, but now is closer to a three-pickup Pacifica with a maple neck).[citation needed]

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. Bill 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 suffering from emphysema.[6]


As leader

  • 1974: Teasin' (Wounded Bird)
  • 1977: Saturday Night Fever (instrumental)
  • 1979: Shadow Dancing
  • 1988: Coast to Coast (Antilles Records)
  • 1991: Can't Get Through
  • 1992: Uncle Funky (Live)
  • 1993: Child's Play
  • 1994: Bop 'n' Blues (Kokopelli Records)
  • 2011: I'm Alright (Dialtone Records)

As sideman

With Hank Crawford

With King Curtis

With Charles Earland

With Aretha Franklin

With Eddie Harris

With Gene Harris

With Donny Hathaway

  • Live (Atlantic, 1972)

With Lena Horne and Gábor Szabó

With Roland Kirk

With Yusef Lateef

With Arif Mardin

With Jack McDuff

With David Newman

With Bernard Purdie

With Buddy Rich

With Marlena Shaw

With Sonny Stitt

With Stanley Turrentine

With Cedar Walton

With Charles Williams


  1. Peter Keepnews (May 14, 2011). "Cornell Dupree, Guitarist and Sideman to the Stars, Dies at 68". The New York Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 - accessed May 2011
  3. 3.0 3.1 Huey, Steve. "Cornell Dupree: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-04-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Texas Senate (May 25, 2011). "SENATE RESOLUTION NO. 1178 In Memory of Cornell Dupree, Jr". Retrieved July 25, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 245. CN 5585.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Terence McArdle (May 10, 2011). "Cornell Dupree, rhythm-and-blues guitarist, dies at 68". The Washington Post.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links