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George Duke - Liberated Fantasies CD (album) cover


George Duke

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars One of George Duke's soul-funk album. Music is really great there, but stylistically it fluctuates between keyboards-based funk pulsation and very competitive soul vocals.

Possibly, strongest side of such Duke's albums is his very inspired keys/synth playing: very often similar funk-soul music from 70-s sounds openly commercial, but not here. For sure, almost all recording has nothing too much in common with prog fusion, but technical and vital Duke's instrumental compositions still can attract many fusion lovers.

Usually I hate pop elements in jazz or rock music, but George Duke is rare case, when great musicianship compensates pop-oriented music. Far not the best Duke's album , especially for prog fans, but still really pleasant to listen.

Report this review (#299185)
Posted Tuesday, September 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars By 76, George Duke had pretty well turned his back on JR/F and was churning some increasingly sickening love ditties aimed at radio airplay, and this album bears well its name, but not the positive way that you'd expect from an artiste his calibre. This album changes again the formula, this time inviting everyone around the studios at the time (the usual suspects if you wish), but much less successfully so than that "Blues" album released the previous year.

Indeed opening on two insipid and syrupy love ballads, George has the guts to bring us Back To Where We Never Left funky-fusion piece, which is indeed quite dishonest, since the man has been trailing along every possible aisle of the pop-gunk industrial waste dumps. After an interesting but way too short What The, the album plunges into the unfathomable depths of MOR/AOR gunk with the Tryin' track and later on the over-sweetish After The Love (wouldn't you have guessed it with such a title). There are still some good JR/F tracks like Can Hear That (with those jungle wails), the syrupy but thankfully-short synth-string-filled instrumental Tzina and finally the entertaining, lengthy but filled with Wishbone-meets-Magma kitsch vocals title track with Embamba's bass solo and a slight twist of Santana; all of these should or will please most progheads.

Not as bad as it might seem from my review so far, Liberated Fantasies still have some cool fusion moments, even if they now sound a little worn-thin, but it's got some real stinkers on it that ruin the album's continuity and again one can only question Duke's production choices. Approach with care and caution, but if you don't mind half-good albums with tons of gunky AOR crap, this can still be up your alley, but it's nothing essential for sure.

Report this review (#402110)
Posted Thursday, February 17, 2011 | Review Permalink

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