Drfunkenberry.com – usually a reliable source – reports that keyboard giant George Duke passed away last night. He was 67. No details have yet been confirmed as to the cause of his death.
Duke was a musician, singer, producer and composer. He leaves behind a stunning legacy that includes over thirty solo albums and collaborations with the likes of Frank Zappa, Miles Davis, Billy Cobham, Stanley Clarke, Flora Purim, Jean-Luc Ponty and countless others. Duke’s music has been sampled by A Tribe Called Quest, Pete Rock, Madlib and many others.
Duke attended Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley before earning a bachelor’s degree in trombone and composition with a minor in contrabass, from the San Francisco Conservatory in 1967. Playing initially with friends from garages to local clubs, Duke quickly eased his way into session work, which refined his abilities and expanded his approach to music. Beginning in 1967 Duke experimented further with jazz fusion, playing and recording with violinist Jean-Luc Ponty, as well as performing with the Don Ellis Orchestra, and Cannonball Adderley’s band, while he acquainted himself with the avantgarde musician Frank Zappa. Duke appeared on a number of Frank Zappa’s albums in the early and mid-1970s, including “Chunga’s Revenge”, “The Grand Wazoo”, “Apostrophe”, “Over-Nite Sensation”, “One Size Fits All” and “Roxy & Elsewhere”.
He also served as a producer and composer on two instrumental tracks on Miles Davis albums: “Backyard Ritual” (from Tutu, 1986) and “Cobra” (from Amandla, 1989). He has also worked with a number of notable Brazilian musicians, including singer Milton Nascimento, percussionist Airto Moreira and singer Flora Purim.
George Duke had just released a new album called “Dreamweaver”, which was a tribute to his dearly departed wife Corine, who passed away a year ago from cancer.