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George Duke




Official WebsiteOfficial Website
Wikipedia: George DukeWikipedia: George Duke
MSN: George DukeMSN: George Duke


Reach For ItReach For It
Sweet BabySweet Baby
Dukey StickDukey Stick

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George Duke was an accomplished keyboardist, producer, arranger, bandleader, and composer. He was successful in both popular music and jazz, and straddled both sides of that aisle for most of his career. Duke grew up in Marin City, California, and in high school played in his first jazz group. His early influences were Miles Davis, Les McCann, and Cal Tjader, all of whom played a role in the diversity of his composing, playing, and arranging. After graduating from high school, he attended the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and majored in trombone and composition with a minor in contrabass; he received his bachelor's degree in music in 1967. He continued his studies at San Francisco State University, where he earned a master's degree, and briefly taught at Merritt Junior College in Oakland. While in school, Duke was part of a house band at San Francisco's Half Note with Al Jarreau. The band backed some of the biggest names in jazz, including Sonny Rollins and Dexter Gordon.

He also began his recording career in 1967 while still in school. His first recording, The George Duke Quartet, Presented by the Jazz Workshop, was released on Germany's Saba imprint, which later became MPS, a label he enjoyed a fruitful relationship with in the '70s. In 1969 Duke heard a record on the radio by French violinist Jean-Luc Ponty, and through his relationship with Pacific Jazz honcho Dick Bock he was able to make contact with Ponty; they eventually recorded The Jean-Luc Ponty Experience with the George Duke Trio in 1969. The band played a slew of club gigs in the Bay Area, and at one such performance he was heard by audience members Frank Zappa and Cannonball Adderley. He was invited to join Zappa's Mothers of Invention and accepted, spending much of 1969 and 1970 with him. Duke then spent 1971-1972 as pianist with Cannonball Adderley's band, and then returned to Zappa from 1973-1975.

In 1975 he worked with Sonny Rollins and co-led a group with Billy Cobham. Throughout these years, Duke recorded six albums for MPS: Solus/The Inner Source, Faces in Reflection, I Love the Blues, She Heard My Cry, Feel, The Aura Will Prevail, and Liberated Fantasies, all of which are now regarded as jazz and jazz-funk classics. Duke signed to CBS in late 1975 and released his first solo album for the imprint, From Me to You, in 1976, and began scandalizing jazz critics with his inclusion of funk, disco, and soul elements in his compositions, and in the array of musicians who performed with him. In 1978 he recorded his breakthrough, the crossover funk album Reach for It; it took him into the upper reaches of the pop charts, and moved his concert appearances from clubs to arenas. Follow the Rainbow and Brazilian Love Affair both landed in 1979 and ran up the charts as well.

By the late '70s he was also producing projects for jazz, pop, and Brazilian artists including Raul de Souza, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and A Taste of Honey, whose single "Sukiyaki" hit the top spot on the pop, adult contemporary, and R & B charts and went multi-platinum. Duke became a producer of note, going on to score hits with Jeffrey Osbourne ("Stay with Me Tonight," "On the Wings of Love") and Deniece Williams ("Let's Hear It for the Boy," "Do What You Feel"). After that, production played as large a role as making his own records -- during part of the '80s almost surpassing it. Duke produced a diverse range of projects -- including records by the Pointer Sisters, Barry Manilow, Smokey Robinson, Melissa Manchester, 101 North, George Howard, Gladys Knight, Najee, Take 6, Howard Hewett, Chanté Moore, Everette Harp, Rachelle Ferrell (his key collaborator in the early '90s), Gladys Knight, Keith Washington, Gary Valenciano, Johnny Gill, and Anita Baker -- in a wide range of styles. Many of these records charted highly.

Duke began the '80s with the first Clarke/Duke Project recording (with bassist Stanley Clarke) that netted his own number Top 20 crossover hit, "Sweet Baby" (number 19 Pop, number 6 R & B). He also released the solo works Dream On, Guardian of the Light, and Rendezvous as well as another Clarke/Duke Project album before leaving Epic for Elektra in 1984. There he recorded Thief in the Night, George Duke, and Night After Night. Duke's music delighted mainstream audiences and crossed over from pop to adult contemporary to the R & B charts effortlessly.

The '90s commenced for Duke with a third and final Clarke/Duke Project recording before he signed to Warner Bros. upon the courting of legendary label boss Mo Ostin. While his debut for the label, 1993's Snapshot, hit the charts because of its smash single "No Rhyme, No Reason" (sung by Ferrell), the biggest surprise for audiences came later, in 1995, with the release of The Muir Woods Suite. A large jazz concept work, it was recorded live at the Montreux Jazz Festival with Duke playing keyboards, Clarke on bass, Chester Thompson on drums, and Paulinho Da Costa on percussion fronting a symphony orchestra. It was actually recorded in 1993, but Duke spent two years "fixing" the tracks before it was released in 1995; he later performed it numerous times in concert. Jazz critics who had long derided his pop success and wrote him off suddenly took notice again. Duke, however, was courting no one. In 1996 he released Illusions and nailed another single in the Top 40 with "Love Can Be So Cold." Some of the players and singers featured on the album included Ferrell, James Ingram, Joyce Kennedy, Mervin Warren, Marvin Winans, the Emotions, Lori Perry, and Everette Harp. Duke finished the decade with a string of albums for Warner including a second concept work, After Hours, before leaving the label after 2000's Cool.

Duke threw another change-up in 2002 with Face the Music, issued on BPM. He played mostly acoustic piano on the date -- something he hadn't done in years -- and used the same core band on the entire recording (another rarity). His main sidemen for the date were bassist Christian McBride, drummer Lil' John Roberts, and Jef Lee Johnson on guitar. Though there are other instruments and players, these men appear on every track. The album Duke was released in 2005, a hodgepodge of music he'd left off other projects. In 2006 he released In a Mellow Tone, a more traditional jazz album with Brian Bromberg on upright bass and Terri Lyne Carrington on drums, and the jazz critics took notice once again. Duke returned to jazz-funk and R & B for 2008's Dukey Treats, on Heads Up/Telarc, once more using singers and a slew of musicians. It was followed by Déjà Vu in 2010. In 2012, he produced Jeffrey Osborne's Time for Love album (released in 2013). During the sessions, Duke's wife of 40 years, Corine, died from complications due to cancer. After some time spent away from music in order to properly grieve, he entered the studio in early 2013, and recorded Dreamweaver, which was released in July of that year. Undergoing treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukemia, Duke passed away in a Los Angeles hospital the following month, just over a year after the passing of his wife. He was 67 years old.

-- Thom Jurek, All Music Guide


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1966Presented By The Jazz Workshop Of San Francisco
1971Live! In L.A.
1974Faces In Reflection
1975The Aura Will Prevail
1975I Heard The Blues, She Heard My Cry
1976The 1976 Solo Keyboard Album
1976Liberated Fantasies
1977Reach For It
1977From Me To You
1978Pacific Jazz
1978Don’t Let Go
1979Master Of The Game
1979Follow The Rainbow
1979A Brazilian Love Affair
1981The Clarke/Duke Project Vol. 1
1982Dream On
1983Guardian Of The Night
1983The Clarke/Duke Project Vol. 2
1986George Duke
1988Thief In The Night
1989Night After Night
1993Muir Woods Suite
1994Live! In Montreaux
1997Is Love Enough?
1998After Hours
2002Face The Music
2006In A Mellow Tone
2008Dukey Treats
2010Déjà vu


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1966 Presented By The Jazz Workshop Of San Francisco

01. The Second Time Around
02. The Night Has A Thousand Eyes
03. Days Of Wine And Roses
04. Jeannine
05. Little Girl Blue
06. Secret Love

1971 Live! In L.A.

1974 Feel

01. Funny Funk
02. Love
03. The Once Over
04. Feel
05. Cora Jobege
06. Old Slippers
07. Theme From The Opera “Tzina”
08. Yana Aminah
09. Rashid
10. Statement

1974 Faces In Reflection

01. The Opening
02. Capricorn
03. Piano Solo No. 1
04. Piano Solo No. 2
05. Psychocomatic Dung
06. Faces In Reflection No. 1
07. Maria Tres Filhos
08. North Beach
09. Da Somba
10. Faces In Reflection No. 2

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1975 The Aura Will Prevail

01. Dawn
02. For Love (I come your friend)
03. Foosh
04. Floop De Loop
05. Malibu
06. Fools
07. Echidna’s Arf
08. Uncle Remus
09. The Aura

1975 I Heard The Blues, She Heard My Cry

01. Chariot
02. Look Into Her Eyes
03. Sister Serene
04. That’s What She Said
05. Mashayu
06. Rokkinrowl, I Don’t Know
07. Prepare Yourself
08. Giant Child Within Us – Ego
09. Someday
10. She Heard My Cry

1976 The 1976 Solo Keyboard Album

01. Mr. McFreeze
02. Love Reborn
03. Excerpts From The Opera “Tzina”
04. Spock Gets Funky
05. Pathways
06. Vulcan Mind Probe
07. The Dream Has Ended

1976 Liberated Fantasies

01. Don’t Be Shy
02. Seeing You
03. Back To Where We Never Left
04. What The . . .
05. Tryin’ & Cryin’
06. I C’N Hear That
07. After The Love
08. Tzina
09. Liberated Fantasies


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1977 Reach For It

01. The Beginning
02. Lemme At It
03. Hot fire
04. Reach For It
05. Just For You
06. Omi
07. Searchin’ My Mind
08. Watch Out Baby!
09. Diamonds
10. The End
11. Bring It On Home

1977 From Me To You

01. From Me To You
02. Carry On
03. What Do They Really Fear?
04. ‘Scuse Me Miss
05. You And Me
06. Broken Dreams
07. Up On It
08. Seasons
09. Down In It
10. Sing It

1978 Pacific Jazz

1978 Don’t Let Go

01. We Give Our Love
02. Morning Sun
03. Percussion Interlude
04. Dukey Stick
05. Starting Again
06. Yeah, We Going
07. The Way I Feel
08. Movin’ On
09. Don’t Let Go
10. Preface
11. The Future


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1979 Master Of The Game

01. Look What You Find
02. Every Little Step I Take
03. Games
04. I Want You For Myself
05. In The Distance
06. I Love You More
07. Dog-Man
08. Everybody’s Talking, Pt. 1
09. Pt. 1: The Alien Challenges The Stick
10. Pt. 2: The Alien Succumbs To The Stick

1979 Follow The Rainbow

01. Party Down
02. Say That You Will
03. Funkin’ For The Thrill
04. Sunrise
05. Festival
06. I Am For real
07. Straight From The Heart
08. Follow The Rainbow

1979 A Brazilian Love Affair

01. Brazilian Love Affair
02. Summer Breezin’
03. Cravo E Canela
04. Alone-6AM
05. Brazilian Sugar
06. Sugar Loaf Mountain
07. Love Reborn
08. Up From The Sea It Arose
09. I Need You Now
10. Ao Que Vai Nascer

1981 The Clarke/Duke Project Vol. 1

01. Wild Dog
02. Louie, Louie
03. Sweet Baby
04. I Just Want To Love You
05. Never Judge A Cover By Its Book
06. Let’s Get Started
07. Winners
08. Touch And Go
09. Finding My Way


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1982 Dream On

01. Shine On
02. You
03. Dream On
04. I Will Always Be Your Friend
05. Framed
06. Ride On Love
07. Son Of Reach For It
08. Someday
09. Positive Energy
10. Let Your Love Shine

1983 Guardian Of The Night

01. Overture
02. Light
03. Shane
04. Born To Love
05. Silly Fighting
06. You Are The Light
07. The War Fugue Interlude
08. Reach Out
09. Give Me Your Love
10. Stand
11. Soon
12. Celebrate
13. Fly Away

1983 The Clarke/Duke Project Vol. 2

01. Put It On The Line
02. Heroes
03. Try Me Baby
04. Every Reason To Smile
05. Great Danes
06. The Good Times
07. You’re Gonna Love It
08. Trip You In Love
09. Atlanta

1984 Rendezvous

01. Got To Get Back To Love
02. Stay Awhile
03. Secret Rendezvous
04. Thinking Of You
05. Take It On
06. She Can Wait Forever
07. Better Ways
08. Your Life
09. Ipanema Lady


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1986 George Duke

01. Broken Glass
02. I Just Want To Be In Your Life
03. Good Friend
04. So Mean To Me
05. Stand With Your Man
06. Island Girl
07. King For A Day
08. The Morning, You & Love
09. I Can Make It Better
10. African Violet

1988 Thief In The Night

01. I Surrender
02. Thief In The Night
03. Remembering The Sixties
04. We’re Supposed To Have Fun
05. Ride
06. Love Mission
07. Jam
08. Why
09. La La

1989 Night After Night

01. Miss Wiggle
02. Children Of The Night
03. Love Ballad
04. Guilty
05. Same Old Love
06. Say Hello
07. You Are The Only One In My Life
08. Brazilian Coffee
09. This Lovin’
10. Mystery Eyes

1992 Snapshot

01. From The Void (Intro)
02. History (I Remember)
03. Snapshot
04. No Rhyme, No Reason
05. 6 O’Clock
06. Ooh Baby
07. Fame
08. Geneva
09. Speak Low
10. Keeping Love Alive
11. Until Sunrise
12. Bus Tours
13. In The Meantime
14. The Morning After

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1993 Muir Woods Suite

01. Muir Woods Suite: Phase 1
02. Muir Woods Suite: Phase 2
03. Muir Woods Suite: Phase 3
04. Muir Woods Suite: Percussion Solo
05. Muir Woods Suite: Phase 4
06. Muir Woods Suite: Phase 5
07. Muir Woods Suite: Bass Solo
08. Muir Woods Suite: Phase 6 (Love Theme)
09. Muir Woods Suite: Drum Solo
10. Muir Woods Suite: Phase 7
11. Muir Woods Suite: Montreaux Nights

1994 Live! In Montreaux

01. A Duke Alone
02. Wild Dog
03. Silly Putty
04. Sweet Baby
05. Blues
06. Let’s Boogie
07. Let’s get Started

1995 Illusions

01. Genesis
02. 500 Miles To Go
03. 411
04. Love Can Be So Cold
05. Illusions
06. The Simple Things
07. Life And Times
08. Look What We Started Now
09. C’Est La Vie
10. Buffalo Soldiers
11. Money
12. No Greater Love
13. So I’ll Pretend

1997 Is Love Enough?

01. Into The Future
02. Is Love Enough?
03. It’s Summertime
04. Love Songs
05. It’s Our World
06. Fill The Need
07. Kinda Low
08. Time And Space
09. Back In The Day
10. This Place I Call Home
11. How About You
12. Laid Back Sunday
13. Thinkin’ ‘Bout You
14. I’m Falling
15. Whatever Happened To . . .
16. Back From The Future

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1998 After Hours

01. Rush Hour/Road Rage
02. After Dinner Drink
03. Anticipation
04. The Touch
05. It’s On
06. Together As One
07. From Dusk To Dawn
08. Peace
09. Sweet Dreams
10. Wake Me Gently
11. My Bells

2000 Cool

01. Marin City
02. Wake Up, Smell The Coffee
03. She’s Amazing
04. If You Will
05. Never Be Another
06. Ancient Source
07. Understand
08. If He Ain’t Right, Then He’s Mr. Wrong
09. Sexy Cool
10. All About You
11. Whatever It Takes
12. The Times We’ve Known
13. At A Glance

2002 Face The Music

01. The Black Messiah Pt. 2
02. Chillin’
03. My Piano
04. Guess You’re Not The One
05. Let’s Roll
06. Ain’t It Funky Now
07. Close To You
08. Another Way To Look At It
09. Creepin’
10. Ten Mile Jog

2005 Duke

01. Trust
02. I Wanna Know
03. Superwoman
04. No One
05. T-Jam
06. Somebody’s Body
07. Sausalito
08. Saturday Night
09. In Between The Heartaches
10. Hybrids
11. Homeland


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2006 In A Mellow Tone

01. In A Mellow Tone
02. For All We Know
03. Never Will I Marry
04. Spring Is Here
05. Sweet Baby
06. Down the Road
07. So Many Stars
08. So I’ll Pretend
09. Quiet Fire
10. Just Because
11. I Loves You Porgy

2008 Dukey Treats

01. Everyday Hero
02. I Tried To Tell You
03. A Fonk Tail
04. Dukey Treats
05. Listen Baby
06. Mercy
07. Somebody Laid It On Us
08. Creepin’
09. Right On Time
10. Sudan
11. Are You Ready
12. Images Of Us

2010 Déjà vu

01. A Melody
02. You Touch My Brain
03. What Goes Around Comes Around
04. Bring My Joy
05. Ripple In Time
06. Oh Really?
07. 6 O’Clock Revisited
08. Come To Me Now
09. Stupid Is As Stupid Does
10. Déjà vu

2013 Dreamweaver

01. Dreamweaver
02. Stones Of Orion
03. Trippin’
04. Ashtray
05. Missing You
06. Transition, Pt. 1: Change The World
07. Jazzmatazz
08. Round The Way Girl
09. Transition, Pt. 2: Brown Sneakers
10. You Never Know
11. Ball & Chain
12. Burnt Sausage Jam
13. Happy Trails


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Graphics by YSM

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