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George Duke - Faces In Reflection CD (album) cover

FACES IN REFLECTION

George Duke

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.02 | 6 ratings

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js (Easy Money)
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Released in 1974 when jazz fusion was nearing a turning point, 'Faces in Reflection' belongs more with the early 70s when fusion was fresh, wild and totally experimental. The playing on here is aggressive and energetic, the synthesizers are analog and barely under control, the psychedelic echo effects are made with tape loops and although there are a few mellow cuts, there is not a trace of fuzak in site. George pulls from a large array of influences on here including RTF's hyper post-post-bop Latin fusion, Frank Zappa's free-wheeling jazz flavored rock jams, modern sophisticated chord progressions from Stevie Wonder and EW&F, and left coast experimental psychedelia.

Its hard to understand why Duke never got the press and attention that other fusion/prog rock keyboard giants received in the 70s when big keyboard stacks reigned supreme and for a brief shining moment keyboardists were considered almost equal to guitarists. On 'Faces' George holds his own with any of the greats of his time and adds some hard funk and gritty RnB elements for great effect. The Duke advantage is that his rhythms have a little more bite and precision than a lot of the other 70s keyboard gods.

Some interesting cuts include 'Faces in Reflection No. 2' which sounds like Mahavishnu's 'One Word' topped with Duke's faux EW&F multi-tracked falsetto vocals and 'Piano Solo No. 1 + 2' which is elegant Ellington flavored neo-classicism on the acoustic piano. It also helps that drummer Leon Ndugu Chancelor is absolutely incredible on the more high-octane numbers.

If you like the early years of fusion, before there were formulas, when brilliant musicians borrowed freely from jazz, funk, progressive rock, experimental electronics and psychedelic jam sessions, then this baby is for you.

js (Easy Money) | 4/5 |

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