By Jueseppi B.
George Duke, the legendary jazz keyboardist, died on Monday, his publicist tells NPR.
Duke’s career spanned five decades and he always straddled the line between disparate genres, collaborating with artists such as Miles Davis, Barry Manilow, Frank Zappa, George Clinton and some of Brazil’s top musicians.
George Duke – DreamWeaver
OUT OF DEVASTATING PAIN COMES DREAMWEAVER FROM KEYBOARDIST/COMPOSER/ARRANGER/PRODUCER GEORGE DUKE.
Out of devastating pain comes DreamWeaver, the new disc, which GRAMMY Award-winning keyboardist/composer/arranger/producer George Duke considers his “most honest album in several years.” The making of DreamWeaver occurred after his wife, Corine, passed away. Struck with grief, he found it difficult to work during that period. “I didn’t feel like creating any music, which was odd, because normally that’s the easiest thing for me to do,” he says, “Sometimes, I would walk into the studio and say, ‘Nah. It’s not going to happen.'”
Duke’s mojo returned while on a Capital Cruise. During the first couple of days, he didn’t play any music, but did check out some of the other bands. “By the third day, something happened,” he remembers. After returning to his cabin around 4 a.m. from listening to music, inspiration ignited. “I went back on the deck and watched the sun come up. A couple of songs started coming to me; I got out my pen and paper, and started writing.”
With the assistance of an illustrious cast of musicians that includes bassists Christian McBride and Stanley Clarke; singers Teena Marie, Lalah Hathaway, Rachelle Ferrell, and Jeffrey Osborne; guitarist Paul Jackson, Jr. and the late Jef Lee Johnson; among others, DreamWeaver, set for release July 16, 2013 on Heads Up International, a division of Concord Music Group, finds Duke emphasizing more instrumentals than in the past as well as concentrating more on his mastery on various synthesizers.
Like the bulk of Duke’s discography, DreamWeaver accentuates eclecticism with 15 tracks that range from swinging jazz and sweat funk to gospel-inflected pop and sensual R&B ballads. As the title implies, Duke likens mixing all of the idioms to weaving a sonic fabric. He also compares that stylistic dynamism to life. “Everything is in transition — from hot to cold, from life to death,” he philosophizes, “I wanted to incorporate that kind of thing and include a lot of things that are a part of my life.”
The disc begins and ends with allusions of nothingness, starting with the title track, a sparse etude, and finishes with “Happy Trails,” a misty ballad that was at first just dedicated to Duke’s wife, but later gained more emotional poignancy because of the sudden passing of Johnson, whose distinctive guitar work fades out the conclusion.
In between, the disc unfolds with the evocative, mid-tempo modern jazz composition, “Stones of Orion,” showcasing Duke’s crystalline piano improvisations along with longtime collaborator Clarke on upright bass; the feisty 15-minute workout, “Burnt Sausage Jam,” a track that Duke refurbished from his 2002 Facing the Music sessions with Johnson, McBride, and drummer Lil’ John Roberts; the frisky gangster-leaning groover, “Round the Way Girl;” the feet-friendly burner, “Jazzmatazz;” and the heartfelt ballad, “Missing You,” another direct tribute to Duke’s wife.
“I don’t want people to get the idea that this is a morbid record, because it’s more about celebration,” Duke said.
George Duke & Band – You Touch My Brain
George Duke – Dukey Stick (in the studio 1978) w/- Sheila E
The Billy Cobham – George Duke Band 1976 Montreux Jazz Festival
Published on May 17, 2013
George Duke R.I.P.
12. Januar 1946 in San Rafael, Kalifornien
† 5. August 2013 in Los Angeles
George Duke @ Java Jazz Festival 2010
Uploaded on Dec 12, 2010
George is an attraction on its own for the Jazz – R&B – Straight Ahead even Pop enthousiast in Jakarta and the World.
Here is a small preview of George as he might perform in “HARMONY UNDER ONE NATION – THE REMARKABLE INDONESIA” at the Jakarta International Java Jazz Festival 2011. Enjoy…!!!
I Remember George – Tribute to George Duke
Published on Aug 6, 2013
To wake up this morning in hear that we lost the legendary George Duke felt as if I lost one of my favorite uncles. To even put this note together is distressing at best. I learned of Unc when I was a kid in junior high. The first album I heard was the George Duke Billy Cobham project. I remember the album cover…it was both of their heads connected to a pair of hands. The album cover was unique but the album was extraordinary. Then there was Uncle George and Uncle Stanley Clarke. These two set the foundation of jazz in my life. I met him a few years ago on the capital jazz cruise and we clicked instantly. After that we hung out a few times and kind of stayed in touch.
George Duke personified the ultimate in straight ahead smooth jazz and the funk! The saddest thing to me is that one of my next two albums was going to include a George Duke/Fred Hammond praise & worship CD. Heartbroken is an understatement. I’ve only done one jazz album and it was a tribute to some of the most influential jazz artists in my life. This song called “I Remember George” from my Grandad Turner album.