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FACES IN REFLECTION

George Duke

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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George Duke Faces In Reflection album cover
4.02 | 6 ratings | 2 reviews | 17% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1974

Songs / Tracks Listing

A1 The Opening 3:18
A2 Capricorn 5:06
A3 Piano Solo No 1+2 2:21
A4 Psychosomatic Dung 5:03
A5 Faces in Reflection No.1 (Instrumental) 3:37
B1 Maria Tres Filhos 5:09
B2 North Beach 6:26
B3 Da Somba 6:18
B4 Faces In Reflection No.2 (Vocal) 2:19

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

Bass - John Heard
Drums - Leon Ndugu Chancler
Keyboards - George Duke

Releases information

LP: MPS Records MC 22018 (US),MPS Records 68.022 (Germany),

CD: MPS Records, Promising Music 68.022, SPV 441032 (2008,Germany), Verve Records B0011514-02 (Germany)

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GEORGE DUKE Faces In Reflection ratings distribution


4.02
(6 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(17%)
17%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(83%)
83%
Good, but non-essential (0%)
0%
Collectors/fans only (0%)
0%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

GEORGE DUKE Faces In Reflection reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by 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.

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Send comments to js (Easy Money) (BETA) | Report this review (#296565) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, August 28, 2010

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
4 stars One of the last full JR/F albums in Duke's lengthy discography, Faces In Reflection was originally intended to be called Faces, but George had to change it in the last minute, because there was a very recent release that bore that precise title. Recorded in the scorching heat of LA and released in early 74, the album bears a superb double African mask artwork and hints at an ethnic spiritual direction, which is not really overpowering to say the least.

The album was recorded as a trio, and outside Duke on keyboards, Leon Chancler (of Santana fame amongst others) on drums and John Heard on bass, and is very reminiscent of the highly-regarded Wired-era Jeff Beck albums, despite the total absence of guitars. Duke had just bought a ARP Odyssey synth to diversify his keyboard palette, and in doing so he thought that he'd sound different than Jan Hammer's Mini Moog synth, but alas much of the album is reminiscent of the Beck-Hammer collabs. Indeed right from the opening The Opening track, one is drawn to stuff like Freeway Jam in mind, and if Capricorn offers some scatting vocals from George, we remain in the same galaxy inspiration-wise. The double Piano Solos are more classically oriented, but bear an Alice Coltrane paw as well. With Psychomatic Dung (my fave in this album), we return to Beck- Hammer territory, but bear in mind that those albums were still a few years away, so Duke inspired the duo, rather the other way. The title track is divided in two parts, each ending its own side of the vinyl, an instrumental on the A-side and a sung-version (nothing cringey) on the flipside, both in 9/8.

Heard's bass is rather funky, while Chancler drums up a storm whenever needed, but knows when to slow down to be at the service of the music. Change of tone a bit on the flipside, as the opening bossa track of Maria Tres Filhos (a cover of Nascimento's famous track) is quite Latino-sounding, but it's a bit repetitive and overstays its welcome by a full two minutes. A fully-echoplexed keyboard opens North Beach and tears up a storm almost solo in a John Martyn fashion, and while it might sound a bit dated to jaded keyboardist wizards, it's still quite adventurous, especially for the times. Da Somba returns to Hammer- Beck land but in up-tempoed samba way (hence the title) including a bass solo and a drum solo. The remaster of this album was done in Berlin in the MPS (most promising sound) technique, and the album re-issued in a mini-Lp gatefold format with a black CD disc and it's quite a nice artefact of one of the best George Duke album, the start of a long collab between him and Leon Chancler.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#397824) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, February 11, 2011

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