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ARTIST PROFILES

George Duke: The Master of the Game

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[Editor's Note: The following piece was first published at AAJ contributor Jeff Winbush's The Domino Theory blog, and is reprinted here in tribute to George Duke, who passed away on August 5, 2013]I never caught George Duke live in concert. I never met the man in person. However, he did give me two hours of his extremely busy time to talk to me for a career-spanning interview. What came of it was the longest interview I had ever ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

George Duke: Dream Weaver

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The end comes eventually for us all with only the time and method to be determined. Dream Weaver is an album constructed around death, loss, healing and moving on. George Duke lost his wife, Corine, in 2011 as well as guitarist Jef Lee Johnson, and vocalist Teena Marie who passed away in 2010 as she was collaborating with Duke on a jazz album.Despite the sense of loss and sorrow hanging over the recording, Dream Weaver is hardly a ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

George Duke: The Complete 1970s Epic Albums Collection

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The George Duke BandThe Complete 1970s Epic Albums CollectionEpic/Legacy2012The George Duke Band: The Complete 1970s Epic Albums Collection compiles the six albums that keyboardist, bandleader, composer, arranger and producer George Duke released on Epic Records between 1977 and 1979, accompanied by extensive and reflective notes on each album personally written by Duke, who wrote, arranged and produced just about every track.As an instrumentalist, Duke strongly resembles one of his most ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

George Duke: The Complete 1970s Epic Albums Collection

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The George Duke BandThe Complete 1970s Epic Albums CollectionEpic/Legacy2012 The six albums comprising this collection of George Duke's 1977-80 Epic releases are of uneven quality--as the keyboardist himself acknowledges in the liner booklet--but they make an interesting historical artifact. From a “jazz" point of view, five of the discs approach irrelevance, but the sixth, 1980's samba-informed A Brazilian Love Affair, is a classic which still has alluring legs. ...

INTERVIEWS

George Duke: Facing the Music

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In jazz, there are two seminal figures called “Duke." For Edward Kennedy Ellington, “Duke" was a nickname. For George Duke, it is his surname, but the similarities with Duke Ellington don't end there. As a pianist, arranger, songwriter, bandleader and composer, George Duke has solidified his reputation as one of jazz's most important figures. Also a bold innovator who isn't afraid to confound admirers and critics alike, Duke dived headfirst into funk with his irresistible hit “Reach For It," an ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

George Duke: Deja Vu

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George Duke's Deja Vu should win the 2010 Truth in Advertising award, because it will sound familiar to anyone who following the keyboard virtuoso's 40-year career. Duke, however, doesn't recycle riffs wholesale from his repertoire, as he did on 2008's tepid Dukey Treats (Heads Up); instead, he pulls back from trying to recapture past funk glories with more consistently satisfying results, sounding more relaxed--and, perhaps, having a bit more fun.As a musician and producer, Duke has accomplished too ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

George Duke: Dukey Treats

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George Duke is one of those artists who defy easy description. A keyboardist, vocalist, composer and producer, he may turn up anywhere. At various stages of his career, he's been a bandleader, a sideman and manager of his own label, BPM (Big Piano Music).Duke's associations on the stage or in the studio cover various genres: pop, funk, blues, jazz, smooth jazz, etc. He was a member of Julian “Cannonball" Adderley's band, collaborated with Stanley Clarke, and has worked ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

George Duke: My Soul - The Complete MPS Fusion Recordings

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George Duke My Soul -The Complete MPS Fusion Recordings MPS/Universal Music Germany 2008 While he's gone on to become a renowned pop producer and, in recent years, has veered towards smooth jazz territory, keyboardist George Duke has, in fact, the credentials, skill and intuition to tackle most anything he chooses. So, while his early days might be considered by some to be more significant in that they were closer to a jazz aesthetic and further ...



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