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George Duke - Dreamweaver CD (album) cover


George Duke


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.00 | 1 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars One thing progheads tend to remember American keyboardist George Duke from, is his participation in Frank Zappa's band. After that he made a successful career blending rock, jazz and r&b, recording well over 30 studio albums. DreamWeaver is the very last one, released just a month before he passed away at the age of 67. Her wife Corine had died of leukemia in 2012. Three years since his latest album, as Duke was recovering from his grief, he confronted difficulties in making new music. Finally the inspiration came when he was on a cruise watching the sun rise. According to him, DreamWeaver was his most sincere album for a long time.

Stylistic diversity is common on Duke's albums, but this one is a very many-sided set of music, covering lively jazz/fusion, funk, soul-influenced pop, r&b ballads -- and synth music. Like the two little 'Transition' vignettes, the short title track in the beginning is a mysterious-sounding synth piece, followed seamlessly by 'Stones of Orion', an excellent, piano-led jazz/fusion track full of happy groove. Kamasi Washington is on tenor sax, Daniel Higgins on flute, and Stanley Clarke's upright bass sounds great. 'Trippin'' is a cool r&b-ish song sung by Duke. I don't like r&b in general, and the drum programming in this otherwise OK song represents the genre's bad sides. 'Ashtray' is pure funk, very catchy at that.

'Missing You' starts with Duke's spoken, piano-backed intro. The main vocalist is Rachelle Ferrell on this light-hearted song that makes me think of a cocktail bar on a cruise. R&b / gospel syrup 'Change the World' features several guest vocalists. 'Jazzmatazz' is a fast-tempo song with r&b and rap elements. The rest of the album operates more pleasantly between fresh-sounding instrumental fusion ('Brown Sneakers' has marvelous synth and electric guitar soli!) and pretty good vocal numbers that fortunately aren't soaked in that r&b attitude. Teena Marie sings 'Ball & Chain' jazz ballad with sensual passion. 15-minute 'Burnt Sausage Jam' is a wonderful fusion piece; one can hear the joy of playing from the stellar cast. 'Happy Trails' is a nice, lightly r&b flavoured version of a song that Dale Evans wrote in the early fifties.

Surprisingly happy, sweet and life-celebrating DreamWeaver incorporates musical genres (r&b, funk, gospel) that may not hit the target among the fusion listeners, but being 74 minutes long it sure has several highlights too. When it's good, it's very good.

Matti | 3/5 |


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