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When I awoke this morning my first steps were to update my c.v and commence search for new employment, this as anyone knows is a daunting task never the less it is something we all have to do in order to make a living (true there are other ways lawful that is) I was getting my mind ready and had commenced when my email box sounded to alert me of new mail. I had promised myself I would not allow any distractions and was about to shut down outlook when I noticed the name GEORGE DUKE. This was enough for to override that and click the box to read my positive morning and now just turned a little negative as I drank in the news that keyboard wizard and genius George Duke had sadly past away. I was introduced to George Duke (born January 12, 1946) music in 1981 when he and Stanley Clarke (The bass master) on the timeless CLARKE/DUKE PROJECT (1981)
About the project George had this to say Stanley and I decided right away that this record would live or die by us; that we had to be the focus of this record; not the orchestration, not the background vocals,
The album introduced me to level of musician ship I had not thought possible and it was 1981 I had thought this level was extremely hard to find unless you were Duke Ellington, Miles Davies you know what mean. Yet I was faced with music that was simply blowing my mind as I listened to each track try to work out why they put this part here and how did they come up with that chord change (I must add I am not a musician myself) the more I listened the more lost in the music I became .As if to know this the album delivered a beautiful ballad written by George called SWEET BABY in the album notes George had this to say.
I wrote "Sweet Baby" while looking over the water one afternoon in Berkeley, California while we were already in session for the project. It was written very quickly, and I called Stanley, who was in the room next to mine, and told him to come over and listen to this little pop song. I thought he would hate it, but just the opposite happened. We went in the next day and recorded it and the rest is history. To date, it is my largest across the board hit record. I finally made the top ten pop charts, WOW!
Wow indeed, George has left behind such a rich volume of work both as a composer producer and collaborator. He has worked with the who of who within music industry; few can say that. From Jean-Luc Ponty to Frank Zappa. Mainly known though for his jazz fusion work he was never insecure or scared about working outside those boundaries he had team up with GEORGE CLINTON, ANITA BAKER, and CHANTE MOORE also most recently JILL SCOTT I could go on. I have strong feeling George never had any shyness in this regard his work struck me as an artist who was just in love with music. If you go back to 1979 you can pick up one of my favourite GEORGE DUKE albums Brazilian Love Affair in it George clearly demonstrates just how far ahead of his own time he was and will remain. Throughout his career he had a nucleus of admires that new the only way to see George Duke was to catch him live sadly I only managed that once (kicking myself right now).
Year after year it seemed he would put something new out for us music lovers to eat and fro this I am deeply grateful. When I look back over this artist career I am simply astounded by how enriching his music had made my own life it wasn’t a man complaining and be-moaning about his life (it could have been and he didn’t shy away from those topics. Yet his music contain one a true virtue that those who truly are keeping it real know all too well it contained HOPE of a better today and tomorrow. It was uplifting yet kept its feet firmly on the ground. George was a pioneer of music never afraid and yet always hopeful always positive. What makes the news sad is that he lost his wife approximately a year ago. Now he and his wife can both rest in peace. On George s I noted this about how it started for him When he was just four years old, his mother took him to see Duke Ellington in concert. "I don't remember it too well," says George, "but my mother told me I went crazy. I ran around saying 'Get me a piano, get me a piano!'"
So to Mr George Duke funk fusion jazz master and all round music man
I THANK YOU FOR THE MUSIC THAT KEEPS ME GOING (filled with hope)AND WILL CONTINUE TO DO SO, SHINE ON MY BROTHER.
(Born January 12, 1946 in San Rafael - August 5, 2013. Los Angeles)
BRAZILIAN LOVER AFFAIR LIVE
from Stanley Clarke