Wednesday, August 07, 2013

RIP George Duke

NPR: George Duke, Legendary Jazz Keyboardist, Dies

Here's how NPR's Felix Contreras describes him:
"He was also a very successful record producer who worked with folks like Gladys Knight, The Pointer Sisters, Anita Baker, Rachelle Ferrell.

"As an instrumentalist he started by working with Sonny Rollins and Dexter Gordon. But he made his mark in the jazz fusion vein, most notably with fellow fusion musicians Stanley Clarke and Billy Cobham. He had a series of respected fusion albums going back to the late 1970's.

"From the mid '60s, he also worked as a member of Frank Zappa's recording and touring band. Most recently he had been a big draw at jazz fests around the world that catered to the mix of R&B and jazz artists."

Duke was 67. His wife Corine, passed away , from cancer, a year ago. Time reports that "A representative for Duke said the performer died Monday night in Los Angeles. Duke was being treated for chronic lymphocytic leukemia."

Wax Poetics featured Duke on their cover for issue 46, and have posted up the interview from that issue online, as a tribute... read it here

" After a legendary but short stints with Frank Zappa's band and then drummer Billy Cobham, George Duke forged a new path and ruled the R&B charts with eccentric funk...

What is your earliest musical memory?

George Duke: Probably the single most important thing that I remember was a Duke Ellington concert that my mom took me to when I was four years old. For whatever reason, it really stuck in my mind, and I knew right then and there that that’s what I wanted to do—that I wanted to play music. I mean, I don’t even know what songs he played. I just kind of remember how he was dressed, the way he spoke—he had that kind of thing where he was saying words like “hip,” “jive,” stuff like that.

So, okay, so he sounds like guys in the neighborhood with the lingo of the day, but at the same time he was speaking very properly. He was doing something with his hands, which I found out later was directing. It was just interesting to me. And of course when I grew up, you didn’t see any Black people on TV.

Other than the pastor at the church that I was going to, he was the only guy outside of my community that I saw doing something that made me say, “Hey, this is cool. I want to do this.” And there was all kinds of people watching him: Whites, Blacks, everything. And so I said, “There’s something about this.”

No comments: