‘Cristo Redentor’ & Duke Pearson

2 min readApr 26, 2019

Forty years ago today, the music world lost Duke Pearson. Pearson, born in Atlanta, in 1932, wrote the song, ‘Cristo Redentor,’ (Christ the Redeemer).

It is his best known recording and his greatest and while Pearson recorded and composed many, many songs, this one is so special, it defines his entire career. Many have recorded the song.

Pearson said he was inspired to write the song while in an airplane over Rio De Janeiro. He was on tour with the late, great Nancy Wilson.

Pearson forged a friendship and working relationship during his career with the great Donald Byrd. No accident that Byrd recorded ‘Cristo Redentor,’ in 1970.

Pearson arranged the very famous and legendary Byrd version. It is a certified gold record.

The song is a slow hymn, a graceful peaceful musical walk of respect and tribute to the power of humanity and art.

Byrd’s trumpet captures the awe Pearson must have felt as he saw the statue over Rio so high above the people below. The statute has its own history and presence now.

Bobby Watson provides a very solid interpretation of the song as well that takes on its own beauty and cadence. It again demonstrates the majesty of the song.

Columbus Calvin “Duke” Pearson recorded his own captivating version of the song many years later as well which while not as well known, also captures the deep spirituality, peace, and respect that drives the song’s emotions and deeper meaning.

I expect this song to take on an enduring power in music.




word scratcher, baller, shot caller, born in a city made of chocolate.