Jazz legend George Duke, a visionary keyboardist, producer, composer and arranger, died in Los Angeles on Monday. He was 67.
In a career spanning nearly 50 years, the Grammy-winning artist collaborated with Don Ellis, Frank Zappa, Miles Davis, Michael Jackson, Anita Baker, and many others.
As a child, George Duke watched a performance by Duke Ellington that inspired a his own trajectory as world-renowned keyboard artist. He released more than 40 albums and was a successful producer and bandleader, hitting gold with a megahit 1977 record, Reach For It .
George Duke also appeared on several of Flora Purim's records in the 1970s, including Stories To Tell and Encounter.
This writer has presented George Duke's music countless times over the last several decades and can state that as a keyboardist, George Duke always had the right touch. Whether playing adventuresome futuristic melodies or delivering the down to earth soulful funk that he did so well, George Duke was a brilliant, dynamic artist.
His final studio date, Dreamweaver, presents the legendary keyboardist in vintage form. It was composed after the death of his wife, Corine. Dreamweaver was released on July 16, and debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Contemporary Jazz Chart, according to Duke's record label.
Tune in for a tribute to George Duke on Saturday night's Last Call, airing August 10 on kios.org.
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