George Duke was an extraordinary musician, composer, keyboardist, vocalist, writer, producer, music professor and orchestra conducter who worked with numerous musicians in the world of jazz and popular music.
Born in January 12, 1946, San Rafael California, he started playing the piano at the age of 4. His first rise to fame, came with a well known french violinist Jean Luc Ponty. Another musical offering helped bring notariety to his musical art was “A Brazillian Love Affair “. In 1974, the album”Feel” brought more attention to the young musician, which allowed him to further stretch as a jazz instumentalist.
George Duke is also noted for performing, and recording with some well-known artists such as Sister Sledge, Dianne Reeves, Rachelle Ferrelle, Frank Zappa, George Howard, Jeff Lorber, Miles Davis, and so many others. It should also be mentioned that Sheila E., and vocalist Flora Purim can attribute part of their solo career to Dukes musical contribution.
George Duke also delved into the r&b world, and met with huge success from the album “Reach For It” the title track from the album which allowed him to further stretch his r&b roots with another musical offering, entitled “Dukey Stick”, that spawned from his previous offering. He never left his jazz roots. After his trip from Rio De Janeiro, he was inspired as a producer, to create “A Brazillian Love Affair “. George Duke has released at least 40 albums after his commercial success, and has worked with r&b acts such as Jill Scott, Jeffrey Osborne, Regina Bell, and such jazz greats, from Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller, Wayman Tisdale, Gerald Albright, Al Jarreau, just to name a few. His music has, and is still being sampled by many, ranging from Daft Punk, to hip hop, Ice Cube, Kanye West, Common, along with many others. He was also nominated for a Grammy in 1999 for the best contemporary jazz album, “After Hours”. His final recording, “Dreamweaver” was released of July, 2013.
On August 5, 2013, George Duke succumbed from chronic lymphocytic lukemia in Los Angeles California. He was 67 years old.