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George Duke - The Dream [Aka: The 1976 Solo Keyboard Album] CD (album) cover


George Duke


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.85 | 4 ratings

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4 stars The copy of this album I have is a little different than what is listed at top. Most of the track times are different on mine and some of the names are different. Tzina is listed as Excerpts from Opera Tzina and clocks 6:11. Spock Does The Bump At The Space Disco is listed as Spock Gets Funky and clocks 3:03. Pathways clocks 6:37. The Dream That Ended is listed as The Dream Has Ended. I will review this album based on my copy.

I had already listened to some of Chick Corea's Piano Improvisations. I somewhat expected it to be of that caliber. Whoa was it so much more for me! I couldn't believe it. I already understood how great this man was/is but this album is definitely something special. Although not commercial I believe this music to be completely accessible.

Mr. McFreeze is hot as hell. The title of this track is misleading. One gets sent on a musical roller coaster at the speed of light. He plays at the speed of a metal guitarist but with tastier licks. At about the middle he does cool it down and bring the funk. I take it back this song is as cool as ice. The drumming isn't crazy but it's solid gold and GEORGE IS PLAYING THEM TOO! This song is the precursor for 80's Japanese Jazz Fusion not to mention many Sega Genesis games of the 90s.

Love Reborn is special. It is delicate, decadent, sensual, and tasty like dark chocolate truffles. A solo piano piece. The playing is top shelf.

Synth city on the next track Excerpts from the Opera Tzina. Theme of Opera Tzina came out on the album Feel (One of my favorite fusion albums of all time.) This could have been used in a Final Fantasy cutscene on SNES. Some ET sounds creeping around 2:30. Sometimes sounds dissonant but transitions to full consonance around 3:30. The closing from 3:45 on is inspiring. It sounds like what many Post-Rock groups would emulate 20 years later despite having no guitars (or any other musicians for that matter).

Spock Gets Funky is just that. Funky. You can tell the slap bass is synth but it's still funky as hell.

Pathways starts with some sexy piano. Synth accompanies around 30 or 40 sec mark. Song really builds up and sounds happy and inspiring. Very merry major key.

Vulcan Mind Probe must be a tribute to Stanley Clarke. Very Extraterrestrial. Sounds like he's playing in 13/8. Despite the complexity of such a time signature he plays flawlessly. Very psychedelic soloing. Around 2:35 it sails away into triplet feel. 1 and uh 2 and uh 3 and uh 4 and uh. The synth bass and solo are sick. Although the drums could be more impressive they are solid for a non-drummer. This part of the track is ultra fusion.

The Dream Has Ended is elegant piano piece. Very beautiful chordal structure. Great control of volume and speed. It almost feels like you're reminiscing on the journey just traveled. Some parts floating while some parts intense while some parts yearn for more. Truly a dream as most dreams end without complete resolve.

This album is truly a masterpiece in the Fusion category. It is a shame that it is overlooked by most jazz and prog aficionados alike. Maybe it's because the drumming and bass aren't on par with real drummers and real bass players. Coming from the point of view that he is playing every instrument I find it brilliant but ultimately this is the albums only shortfall. Seeing as Duke would later dominate the world with his funk and disco glory makes this album even more of a gem. A solid 4 stars.

besotoxico | 4/5 |


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