463

George Duke: Dukey Treats

Woodrow Wilkins By

Sign in to view read count
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 with Kirk Whalum, Rick Braun, Fourplay, Larry Carlton and many others. Duke even had a recurring role as a piano bar owner in the short-lived soap opera, Generations.

Now, Duke is back with his conventional sound; or unconventional, depending on how you look at it. Dukey Treats is at once a throwback to Duke's days as a funk-jazz master and a step forward into something altogether different.

The ultra funky "Everyday Hero" sets the tone. With Michael Manson offering a Clarke-like bass line, and Ron Bruner Jr. delivering a staccato drum track, this mostly instrumental selection is reminiscent of a vintage James Brown/Maceo Parker piece complemented by a horn section and small vocal ensemble.

A ballad, "I Tried to Tell You," features more of Duke's dexterity on the keys, as well as his vocal lead. Michael "Patches" Stewart's soft trumpet helps underscore the lead, along with the rest of the horns. Guitarist Jef Lee Johnson's middle solo is an elegant reminder of the signature Isley Brothers sound.

With the small ensemble of Vinnie Colaiuta on drums, Lenny Castro on percussion, Jubu on guitar and Corine Duke offering "shush," Duke vents with "Somebody Laid It On Us," a funky social anthem. Again showing his dexterity on keys, Duke questions why some in society think it is acceptable to fight, steal, rob or hurt other people. "Somebody laid it on us, told us that there's only one way, that we are right and they are wrong, and we must make them pay," Duke sings.

Duke revisits "Creepin,'" one of the more delightful songs from his popular Face the Music (BPM, 2002). With several members of that recording, including bassist Christian McBride and drummer Little John Roberts, Duke and the gang deliver a haunting tribute to those who sneak around on their lovers.

Throughout Dukey Treats, Duke is accompanied by an ever-changing supporting cast. Each contributes wonderfully, although the limited use of Rachell Ferrell seems wasteful. That is the only disappointment of this album. And that all twelve songs are written by Duke is refreshing in a time when many artists are doing covers.

Track Listing: Everyday Hero; I Tried to Tell You; A Fonk Tail; Dukey Treats; Listen Baby; Mercy; Somebody Laid It On Us; Creepin'; (ghoulie remix); Right on Time; Sudan; Are You Ready; Images of Us.

Personnel: George Duke: vocals (1-11), Rhodes (1, 2, 5, 6, 9-12), Clavinet (1, 2, 4, 6), synths (1-4, 6, 7, 9-12), narration (3), vibes (5), piano (7, 9, 11), keyboards (8); Rachell Ferrell: vocals (1, 9); Lori Perry: vocals (1, 8), rap (8); Michael Manson: bass (1, 2, 10, 12), Jef Lee Johnson: guitar (1, 2, 4-6, 8, 10, 12), acoustic guitar (5, 9); Ron Bruner Jr.: drums (1, 2, 10, 12); Josie James: vocals (1, 6, 8), rap (6, 8); Fred White: vocals (1, 11); Sheila E: percussion (1, 4, 6), rap (6); Everette Harp: alto sax (1, 2, 4, 6, 11, 12); Dan Higgins: tenor sax (1, 2, 11); Michael “Patches” Stewart: trumpet (1, 2, 4-6, 11, 12); Reggie Young: trombone (1, 2, 11); Dee Dee Foster: vocals (2); James Gilstrap: vocals (2, 9); Byron Miller: bass (4, 6), rap (6, 8), vocals (8); Leon “Ndugu” Chancler: drums (4, 6), rap (6, 8), vocals (8); Lynn Davis: vocals (4); Napoleon Murphy Brock: vocals (4, 6), rap (6); Darrell Cox: rap (4); Isley Remington: trombone (4, 6, 12); Jubu: guitar (5, 7, 11); Ray Fuller: guitar (5, 9); Vinnie Colaiuta: drums (5 7); Lenny Castro: percussion (5, 7); Wah Wah Watson: guitar (6); Larry Williams: tenor sax (6); Kamasi Washington: tenor sax solo (6); Corine Duke: "shush" (7); Christian McBride: upright bass (8), vocals (8); Little John Roberts: drums (8), vocals (8); Howard Hewett: vocals (8), rap (8); Kenya Hathaway: vocals (8), rap (8); Wayman Tisdale: bass fills (9); Teddy Campbell: drums (9, 11); Larry Kimpel: bass (9, 11); Teena Marie: vocal (10); Jonathan Butler: vocal (10); Nigel Martinez: foreign correspondent; Fiona Frawley: foreign correspondent; Lynn Fiddmont: vocals (11); Terry Dexter: vocals (11).

Title: Dukey Treats | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Heads Up International


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Aqustico vol 2 CD/LP/Track Review Aqustico vol 2
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 25, 2017
Read Lattice CD/LP/Track Review Lattice
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 25, 2017
Read Beginnings CD/LP/Track Review Beginnings
by David A. Orthmann
Published: September 25, 2017
Read Synchronic CD/LP/Track Review Synchronic
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 25, 2017
Read Slægt CD/LP/Track Review Slægt
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 24, 2017
Read An Eye on the Future CD/LP/Track Review An Eye on the Future
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 24, 2017
Read "Ma De Re Sha" CD/LP/Track Review Ma De Re Sha
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 28, 2017
Read "Reach" CD/LP/Track Review Reach
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 19, 2017
Read "To the Bone" CD/LP/Track Review To the Bone
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 22, 2017
Read "88" CD/LP/Track Review 88
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 24, 2016
Read "Instrumental" CD/LP/Track Review Instrumental
by Mark Sullivan
Published: June 10, 2017
Read "In Hollywood, 1971" CD/LP/Track Review In Hollywood, 1971
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 18, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.