George Duke, musician, keyboardist, composer, mentor, innovator, professor and trailblazer has passed away. He was 67.
Besides being a collaborator with some of the biggest and most important names in the history of music he also released more than 30 solo albums.
He was well known as a Jazz & fusion musician and R&B artist when he recorded his biggest hits “Reach For It” & “Dukey Stick” in 1977.
“Dukey Stick” – George Duke
“Reach For It” – George Duke
He also scored a hit collaborating with Stanley Clarke.
“Sweet Baby” – The Clarke/Duke Project
I didn’t know George Duke but I have a gang of friends and associates who did. I never heard a single person say a negative word about him. I met him a few times during my BET tenure and every single time I saw him I swear he was smiling.
A big Teddy Bear of a man, he was a mentor to a few generations of musicians and played just about anything he wanted from Jazz to Funk to R&B to Fusion.
He collaborated with too many artists to list but here’s a smattering: Frank Zappa, Jean-Luc Ponty, Miles Davis, Stanley Clarke, Michael Jackson, Dizzy Gillespie, Al Jarreau, Deniece Williams, Sheila E, Patrice Rushen, Billy Cobham, Edwin Hawkins, Regina Belle, Angela Bofil, Anita Baker, Joe Sample, Phil Collins, George Clinton, Cannonball Adderley, Mike Mainieri, Flora Purim, Milton Nascimento, Rachelle Ferrell, Marcus Miller, Teena Marie, Ndugu Chancler, Jill Scott and his cousin Dianne Reeves.
He was also liberally sampled by producers and rappers such as Kanye West, Daft Punk, A Tribe Called Quest, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, MF Doom, Mylo, Ice Cube and many, many others.
George and Billy Cobham “Live At Montreux” – Full concert
He had recently released his last project, Dreamweaver, dedicated to his wife Carine who passed away last year after a battle with cancer.
Here’s a short on the process behind the recording of the project.
George Duke – Dreamweaver
I remember a time in my life that 67 seemed old, now it seems that your 60’s might be when things become clearer and easier, if you’re lucky to have lived that long and have the good health to enjoy that period of calm & clarity
He passed from heart complications as a result from being treated for chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
RIP, George Duke. You will be missed.