Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


Jazz Rock/Fusion • United States

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

George Duke picture
George Duke biography
January 12, 1946 (San Rafael, California, USA) - August 5, 2013

When he was just four years old, his mother took him to see Duke Ellington in concert. I don't remember it too well, says George, but my mother told me I went crazy. I ran around saying 'Get me a piano, get me a piano!' He began his piano studies at age seven, absorbing the roots of Black music in his local Baptist church. That's where I first began to play funky. I really learned a lot about music from the church. I saw how music could trigger emotions in a cause-and-effect relationship.

By the age of sixteen, George had played with a number of high school jazz groups. He was heavily influenced by Miles Davis and the soul-jazz sound of Les McCann and Cal Tjader. Attending the San Francisco Conservatory Of Music and majoring in trombone and composition with a minor in contrabass, he received his Bachelor of Music degree in 1967.

George with Al Jarreau formed a group which became the house band at San Francisco's Half Note Club. George later received a Masters Degree in composition from San Francisco State University and briefly taught a course on Jazz And American Culture at Merritt Junior College in Oakland. It was about this time that George began to release a series of jazz albums on the MPS label.

One night, on a local jazz station, George heard a record by the violinist Jean-Luc Ponty. When he found out that Jean-Luc was coming to California to record, he sent a tape to Dick Bock at World-Pacific Records, along with a note saying There is no other pianist for this guy but me. From those sessions The George Duke Trio was born. They toured Europe and played at The Newport Jazz Festival.

The group's first gig in a rock-oriented venue came in early 1969. In attendance were Cannonball Adderly, Quincy Jones, Frank Zappa, and the unexpected presence of an electric, rather than acoustic, piano on-stage. The Ponty -Duke performance wowed the crowd, and ushered in the West Coast counterpart of the Eastern fusion revolution sparked by Miles Davis, The Mahavishnu Orchestra and Weather Report. Before '69 was out, George joined Frank Zappa (as he put together a new Mothers Of Invention line up) and toured for an entire year. He appeared on a number of Zappa's albums in the early and mid-1970s, including Chunga's Revenge, 200 Motels, Waka/Jawaka, The Grand Wazoo, Apostrop...
read more

GEORGE DUKE Videos (YouTube and more)

Showing only random 3 | Search and add more videos to GEORGE DUKE


George Duke: Greatest HitsGeorge Duke: Greatest Hits
Legacy 2008
$4.31 (used)
In a Mellow ToneIn a Mellow Tone
Bizarre Planet 2006
$3.99 (used)
Don't Let GoDon't Let Go 2013
$8.29 (used)
George Duke -  Reach For It/From Me To YouGeorge Duke - Reach For It/From Me To You
Extra tracks
BGO 2015
$29.96 (used)
Reach For ItReach For It
Limited Edition
Sony 2017
$15.29 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Stanley Clarke George Duke 12" LP Project II 1983 NEAR MINT FREE US SHIPPING USD $17.98 Buy It Now
The Billy Cobham George Duke Band Live On Tour In Europe cassette tested USD $8.99 Buy It Now
George Duke : Snapshot CD USD $3.00 [0 bids]
I Love The Blues, She Heard My Cry [VINYL] George Duke Vinyl USD $28.65 Buy It Now
JEAN-LUC PONTY Live At Donte's 1981 Blue Note LT-1102 GEORGE DUKE JOHN HEARD USD $7.99 [0 bids]
GEORGE DUKE Brazilian Love Affair;Night After Night 2 JAZZ FUNK LP LOT excellent USD $9.99 Buy It Now 24m 2s
George Duke Follow The Rainbow LP JE 35701 (VG+ Condition) USD $8.00 Buy It Now 48m 55s
Miles Davis Tutu LP 1-25490 '86 synths george duke marcus miller fusion jazzrock USD $35.00 Buy It Now 1h 41m
Stanley Clarke / George Duke ?- The Clarke / Duke Project / Vinyl LP Album 1981 USD $5.99 Buy It Now 4h 5m
George Duke Blues & Soul 307 1980 Diana Ross Mystic Merlin Gary Bartz USD $19.36 Buy It Now 6h 44m
GEORGE DUKE - GEORGE DUKE CD NEW+ USD $15.48 Buy It Now 8h 27m
George Duke-Master of the Game CD NEW USD $16.99 Buy It Now 9h 41m
George Duke ?- Party Down b/w Reach For It & Dukey Stick ~ 12" Single, USD $5.15 [0 bids]
10h 17m
George Duke : After Youve Gone CD USD $12.99 Buy It Now 12h 27m
GEORGE DUKE s/t LP OOP mid-80's soul-jazz promo w/hype-sticker USD $2.99 Buy It Now 12h 54m
George Duke - George Duke [CD] USD $6.76 Buy It Now 13h
GEORGE DUKE - Self-Titled (2009) - CD - WOU 480 USD $12.99 Buy It Now 13h 33m
George Duke: Dukey Stick (Part One) / (Part Two) 45 USD $4.00 Buy It Now 13h 43m
STANELY CLARKE-I WANNA PLAY FOR YOU. w/Jeff beck/George duke/tom Scott/sten Getz USD $4.00 [0 bids]
Illusions by George Duke (CD, Jan-1995, Warner Bros.) USD $11.88 Buy It Now 14h 24m
OUT OF PRINT CD - Master of the Game by George Duke (CD, May-1995, Columbia USD $10.00 [0 bids]
14h 26m
GEORGE DUKE From me To You WHITE Label PROMO LP Record Album Vinyl USD $14.99 Buy It Now 15h 30m
GEORGE DUKE: Broken Glass / Same 45 (dj) Soul USD $6.00 Buy It Now 15h 49m
George Duke LP Follow The Rainbow PROMO USD $16.00 Buy It Now 18h 23m
George Duke LP Reach For It PROMO USD $16.00 Buy It Now 18h 24m
GEORGE DUKE Faces In Reflection MPS LP VG++ USD $8.00 [1 bids]
18h 37m
GEORGE DUKE Feel MPS LP VG+ USD $8.00 [0 bids]
18h 38m
From Me To You by George Duke (Epic PE 34469) Promo LP w/Time Strip EX/EX USD $4.99 Buy It Now 18h 57m
Al Jarreau - My Old Friend: Celebrating George Duke - CD - New USD $16.26 Buy It Now 19h 55m
George Duke - Self-Titled - CD - New USD $8.18 Buy It Now 19h 55m
Billy Cobham - The Billy Cobham - George Duke Band - "live" - On Tour In USD $8.18 Buy It Now 19h 56m
Billy Cobham - The Billy Cobham - George Duke Band - "live" - On Tour In Europe USD $8.18 Buy It Now 19h 56m
George Duke : Greatest Hits (CD 1996) - FREE SHIPPING! USD $6.95 Buy It Now 20h 13m
George Duke - Master of the Game [New CD] Bonus Tracks USD $10.60 Buy It Now 20h 34m
George Duke - Master of the Game [New CD] Bonus Tracks USD $12.14 Buy It Now 20h 55m
FLORA PURIM - ENCOUNTER LP 1977 Jazz Fusion AIRTO Ron Carter GEORGE DUKE USD $10.74 Buy It Now 21h 5m
My Old Friend: Celebrating George Duke - Jarreau,Al CD-JEWEL CASE Free Shipping! USD $24.46 Buy It Now 21h 25m
George Duke From Me To You LP Record USD $14.95 Buy It Now 23h 22m
The Jean-Luc Ponty Experience With The George Duke Trio LP Record USD $14.95 Buy It Now 23h 22m
George Duke Save The Country LP Record USD $14.95 Buy It Now 23h 22m
Follow the Rainbow George Duke LP Record USD $14.95 Buy It Now 23h 22m
George Duke Don't Let Go LP Record USD $14.95 Buy It Now 23h 22m
George Duke-Bob James-Hurbert Laws-Montreux Summit Vol. 1 -1977 Promo LP Set USD $20.00 Buy It Now 23h 31m
George Duke~Liberated Fantasies~1976 Jazz-Funk~Shrink Wrap~FAST SHIPPING!! USD $9.31 Buy It Now 23h 34m
CHILDREN OF THE WORLD PROJECT 45 We Are The World/Care For Kids GEORGE DUKE USD $9.99 Buy It Now 1 day
George Duke-Deja Vu CD Promo Super RARE Limited Heads Up International USD $25.00 Buy It Now 1 day
GEORGE DUKE Follow The Rainbow JAPAN CD SICP-5740 2018 NEW USD $26.15 Buy It Now 1 day
Soul Promo 45 Stanley Clarke/George Duke - Heroes / Heroes On Epic USD $5.00 Buy It Now 1 day
GEORGE DUKE - THIEF IN THE NIGHT / Japanese Pressing Vinyl LP W/OBI P-13094 Y01 USD $2.50 Buy It Now 1 day
George Duke - Master Of The Game: Expanded Edition (CD Used Very Good) USD $10.14 Buy It Now 1 day
Shine On: The Anthology ¿ The Epic Years 1977-1984 by George Duke: New USD $19.28 Buy It Now 1 day
George Duke E-S/L Brazilian Love Affair Remixes CD Single - Like New USD $9.76 Buy It Now 1 day
Stanley Clarke & George Duke Heroes 7" Epic A3860 EX 1983 demo, Heroes/Atlanta USD $8.38 Buy It Now 1 day
GEORGE DUKE reach out part 1/part 2 A3267 demo uk epic 1983 7" WS EX/ USD $9.02 Buy It Now 1 day
George Duke - Duke [CD] USD $11.81 Buy It Now 1 day
George Duke Is Love Enough Cassette Tape 56z USD $0.99 Buy It Now 1 day
George Duke A Brazilian Love Affair Cassette Tape 56z USD $2.99 Buy It Now 1 day
GEORGE DUKE-GEORGE DUKE NM/VG+ soul LP USD $4.98 Buy It Now 1 day
George Duke ?My Soul - The Complete MPS Fusion Recordings 4 x CD USD $167.77 Buy It Now 1 day
George Duke I Love the Blues, She Heard my Cry 1975 Stereo LP VG++ USD $11.69 Buy It Now 1 day
George Duke Follow the Rainbow White Label PROMO Album 1979 Epic JE35701 EXC/EXC USD $15.75 Buy It Now 1 day
Is Love Enough? by George Duke (CD, Mar-1997, Warner Bros.) USD $3.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Al Jarreau - My Old Friend: Celebrating George Duke [New CD] USD $14.27 Buy It Now 1 day
George Duke "Born to Love You" 45 Single PROMO USD $4.95 Buy It Now 1 day
GEORGE DUKE Guilty w/ PART 2 PROMO DJ CD single 1989 USD $19.99 Buy It Now 1 day
George Duke - George Duke NEW CD USD $4.56 Buy It Now 1 day
George Duke - Dukey Treats [CD] USD $16.92 Buy It Now 1 day
George Duke ?- Guardian Of The Light EXPANDED CD NEW SEALED SOUL / FUNK / DISCO USD $12.89 Buy It Now 1 day
GEORGE DUKE Illusions 1995 CD Jazz James Ingram Marvin Winans USD $11.02 Buy It Now 1 day
George Duke ?- Shine on (Epic) Promo copy -12" USD $16.76 [0 bids]
1 day
George Duke Ride On Love UK Epic USD $4.52 [0 bids]
1 day
George Duke - Brazilian Fusion [New CD] USD $12.27 Buy It Now 1 day
George Duke-Master of the Game (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $11.06 Buy It Now 1 day
I Wanna Play for You Stanley Clarke George Duke Lee Ritenour CD 1994 EK 64295 NM USD $9.99 [0 bids]
1 day
George Duke Dream On (Early CD 1982 CBS) D18P 50008 EK 37532 UPC 07464375322 USD $9.99 [0 bids]
1 day
Sealed GEORGE DUKE s/t ELEKTRA / ASYLUM JAZZ LP USD $18.00 Buy It Now 1 day
George Duke Collection - George Duke Compact Disc Free Shipping! USD $19.31 Buy It Now 1 day
Original Album Series George Duke Audio CD USD $20.30 Buy It Now 1 day
Pete Magadini feat George Duke-Polyrhythm-LSR 91001-SEALED USD $9.99 Buy It Now 1 day
George Duke From Me To You LP VG+ Epic Records USD $9.95 Buy It Now 1 day
A Brazilian Love Affair by George Duke (CD, Mar-1994, Legacy) New Sealed USD $24.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Peter Magadini-Polyrhythm-Briko 1000-GEORGE DUKE DON MENZA USD $19.99 Buy It Now 1 day
GEORGE DUKE LP DREAM ON USD $5.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Cool by George Duke (CD, Sep-2000, Warner Bros.) USD $8.99 Buy It Now 1 day

More places to buy GEORGE DUKE music online Buy GEORGE DUKE & Prog Rock Digital Music online:

GEORGE DUKE discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

GEORGE DUKE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 1 ratings
The George Duke Quartet: Presented By The Jazz Workshop 1966 Of San Francisco
2.02 | 6 ratings
Save The Country
3.00 | 3 ratings
The Inner Source (Aka: Solus)
4.04 | 11 ratings
Faces In Reflection
4.08 | 13 ratings
3.99 | 11 ratings
I Love The Blues, She Heard My Cry
2.95 | 13 ratings
The Aura Will Prevail
3.05 | 6 ratings
Liberated Fantasies
3.60 | 5 ratings
From Me To You
2.96 | 8 ratings
Reach For It
3.67 | 6 ratings
Don't Let Go
3.85 | 4 ratings
The Dream [Aka: The 1976 Solo Keyboard Album]
3.16 | 6 ratings
A Brazilian Love Affair
3.00 | 6 ratings
Follow The Rainbow
3.44 | 9 ratings
Master Of The Game
3.17 | 6 ratings
Dream On
3.25 | 4 ratings
Guardian Of The Light
4.00 | 1 ratings
3.00 | 1 ratings
Thief In The Night
3.00 | 1 ratings
George Duke
3.00 | 2 ratings
Night After Night
1.05 | 2 ratings
2.33 | 3 ratings
3.25 | 4 ratings
After Hours
2.09 | 4 ratings
3.50 | 2 ratings
Face The Music
2.50 | 2 ratings
5.00 | 1 ratings
In A Mellow Tone
2.05 | 2 ratings
Dukey Treats
3.02 | 4 ratings
Déjà Vu
3.00 | 1 ratings

GEORGE DUKE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 1 ratings
Muir Woods Suite
2.00 | 3 ratings
Muir Woods Suite

GEORGE DUKE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

GEORGE DUKE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
The Collection
0.00 | 0 ratings
Greatest Hits
4.00 | 1 ratings
Is Love Enough?
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Essential George Duke
4.00 | 1 ratings
Jazz Moods: 'Round Midnight
4.00 | 1 ratings
My Soul: The Complete MPS Fusion Recordings

GEORGE DUKE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Brazilian Love Affair / Heaven Sent You (split with Stanley Clarke)
0.00 | 0 ratings
Life And Times


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Dreamweaver by DUKE,GEORGE album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.00 | 1 ratings

George Duke Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
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. 15½-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.

 The Aura Will Prevail by DUKE,GEORGE album cover Studio Album, 1975
2.95 | 13 ratings

The Aura Will Prevail
George Duke Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by SonomaComa1999

2 stars REVIEW #2 - "The Aura Will Prevail" by George Duke (1975). 5/6/2018

Coming off my first review of Zappa's 1974 "Apostrophe" album, I was particularly struck by the song "Uncle Remus" from that album. The song was written by both Zappa and pianist George Duke, who was born just thirty miles south of where I live in San Rafael, California. Given how Eurocentric the progressive rock genre is as a whole, I found it exciting to be able to review a local artist. Duke's solo work lives entirely in the realm of jazz fusion, in the vein of Jean-Luc Ponty or Weather Report. My first exposure to fusion was when I began collecting LPs in the winter of 2014. I used to comb all of the local thrift shops in my hometown of Petaluma, searching for listenable records to test out on my cheap $60 console turntable that I bought at Target. One store in particular in the heart of the city was partly run by a man who sold his own records and would give me weekly recommendations as to what I should listen to.

It was thanks to this man that I was introduced to King Crimson as a 15-year old kid, as well as other pioneering prog rock bands such as Yes, Genesis, and even Van der Graaf Generation. Better yet, he recommended a lot of jazz fusion albums to me which I promptly put into my collection, even though they never got as much airtime as "Close to the Edge" or "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway". I was introduced to Ponty, Weather Report, Return to Forever and many more - so jazz fusion does hold a place in my heart. George Duke was a prolific songwriter, releasing numerous albums over his musical career in addition to working with guys like Zappa. I chose his 1975 album "The Aura Will Prevail" since it contains his own cover of the aforementioned Zappa work "Uncle Remus."

The album opens up with the instrumental fusion staple "Dawn". Apart from being a mellow and open tune, it is a rather generic example of what fusion brings to the table. It has a solid main theme, and makes use of the synthesizer quite heavily - something which is gonna be a recurrent theme on this album. We move away from the traditional realm of fusion and into the more commercially friendly and lyrical "For Love (I Come Your Friend)" which is just too sugary for my tastes, although I do admit I woke up this morning with the chorus in my head, so I suppose the song does a great job in that regard. It is a fast-paced poppy love tune featuring Duke on lead vocals - it is by no means progressive in any way. Another reviewer on this site noted how the music on this album is bordering on "easy-listening" status, which I wholeheartedly come to agree with as we inch closer and closer to the end of mainstream prog. Here in Sonoma, we would hear this type of music on the soft jazz 93.7FM rather than the classic rock/occasional prog 97.7FM which I indulge in.

"Foosh" doesn't do any better to break the monotony with its mellow and somewhat mischievous tempo. Following "For Love" dead in the middle of the first side, it seems like it was intended to serve as a prelude to the longer and more prominent "Floop De Loop" which is by far the most musically challenging piece of the album. Coming in at 6:43, Duke and his band make better use of their musical talents to appease the more radical prog listener. However, the entire piece just does not resonate with me, meaning it is all too forgettable for my tastes, despite it being what I would consider a decent instrumental showcase. I tried to recall the musical motifs after listening to the entire album numerous times, but I could not come away with anything more than the group playing a long instrumental that was a bit more complex than the rest of the album. At this point, it seems like this album would only be fit for a completionist, but fortunately we still have not come across the "Uncle Remus" cover which I thought might be able to salvage the album.

Opening up the second side of "The Aura Will Prevail" is "Malibu", which features a bit more of a Latin influence, with some exotic percussion and wordless vocals supported by a rather nice-sounding bassline. For some reason this style reminded me a little bit of one of the songs that came off of Camel's debut album, even though I attributed that connection to being a total fluke. As for the song in its entirety, it is another pretty generic fusion staple similar to the album's opener, and while it is not bad per se, it is altogether forgettable just like the rest of the album. "Fools" is another poppy vocal piece which turned me away right after I got into the groove of the album's Latin fusion style. Another reviewer proclaimed that this song was better off found on a Barry White album, which gave me a good laugh - however, I kind of agree with him, as this song veers off the track of prog with "For Love". I'm not saying that his song is awful - both the pop offerings are catchy in their own right, but given I am looking for musically challenging material on a fusion album, I feel almost cheated as Duke moves off into the mainstream midway through the decade. I could see my grandfather, who is a devout listener of R&B and soul having grown up in San Francisco and Oakland in the 1950s through 1970s, listening to this music more than I, and he absolutely detests rock and roll.

The next two songs on the album are pretty intriguing; they are both covers of Frank Zappa songs. Of course, "Uncle Remus" is the latter, but Duke puts the instrumental "Echidna's Arf" on this album, which was a bit surprising. I was actually rather excited to see what Duke would do on this piece given it is a rather fast-paced composition that Zappa played with the Mothers of Invention. On this album, it starts off at a breakneck pace but to my horror, it devolves into a space-rock tier synthesizer showcase which hardly continues on the themes of the piece when played in Zappa's band. In fact, it actually disappointed me that Duke took this route with the song, given that there was an opportunity to go in many positive directions with the piece. Fortunately "Echidna's Arf" isn't a long song being only 3:35, and it feels like Duke is trying to make this one another prelude into "Uncle Remus", which totally feels wrong. First of all, Duke's rendition of "Remus" is much softer and balladic than Zappa's 1974 version, and the spacey introduction does not segue well into it at all. That being said, the cover which I had so long awaited turns out to be the distinct highlight of the album, with Duke not going overboard on the pitch of his vocals; keeping it brisk and cool, which works much better. I feel that if the entire album followed this theme, it would have warranted a better reception. However, I still prefer the original's fast pace, backing vocals, and brutal guitar solo coda. This version is better listened to in a melancholy atmosphere, while you can rock out to Zappa's version.

There is a small closing piece titled "The Aura" but it is moreover a continuation of the fusion themes seen on "Dawn" and "Malibu". Otherwise, that is really it from this album, which I can sum up as mediocre. The only real saving grace for this album from being a one-star is the "Remus" cover which is memorable and listenable. George Duke was a very talented pianist and had a great role in Zappa's band, as well as a prolific solo career, but his 1975 offering just comes off as a generic and forgettable fusion record. I could justify devout fans of the fusion genre being somewhat interested in the rest of the contents on this LP, but overall I think that we all come to this record to listen to Duke's rendition of two Zappa works - it gets a 2-star (63% D-) from me, one song away from being a wash. Only listen for "Uncle Remus", and that's if you're a fan of more mellow music.

 I Love The Blues, She Heard My Cry by DUKE,GEORGE album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.99 | 11 ratings

I Love The Blues, She Heard My Cry
George Duke Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by J-Man
Prog Reviewer

4 stars With George Duke's unfortunate passing just a few days ago, now feels like as good a time as any to revisit one of the man's finest albums, 1975's I Love the Blues, She Heard My Cry. This record was released towards the end of Duke's time spent playing with Frank Zappa's band, and it's apparent that some elements of Zappa's quirky and complex fusion music had rubbed off on him by this point - although not entirely a jazz fusion observation, I Love the Blues, She Heard My Cry contains some tracks like "That's What She Said" and "Giant Child Within Us - Ego" that sound straight out of the Zappa playbook. Not too surprising when one considers that fellow Zappa alumni Ruth Underwood, Bruce Fowler, and Tom Fowler also participated on this album!

I Love the Blues, She Heard My Cry also explores funk and soul-inspired music without ever coming across as bland (even the ballad "Someday" is fantastic!), as well as humorous hard rock on "Rokkinrowl, I Don't Know" and pure traditional blues in the title track. The title track is the only song that I could really do without; I feel that it is a rather weak way to end such a fantastic record, but blues fans may be more into the song than I am. Even taking the out-of-place title track into consideration, I Love the Blues, She Heard My Cry is one of the best jazz fusion albums of the classic era, and an essential pickup for all fusion enthusiasts. Rest easy, Duke!

 The Dream [Aka: The 1976 Solo Keyboard Album] by DUKE,GEORGE album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.85 | 4 ratings

The Dream [Aka: The 1976 Solo Keyboard Album]
George Duke Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by besotoxico

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.

 Liberated Fantasies by DUKE,GEORGE album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.05 | 6 ratings

Liberated Fantasies
George Duke Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator 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.

 The Aura Will Prevail by DUKE,GEORGE album cover Studio Album, 1975
2.95 | 13 ratings

The Aura Will Prevail
George Duke Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars By the middle of the decade, George Duke was churning out albums at a frenetic pace, this one recorded in early 75 and released a few months after the preceding I Love the Blues album. The least we can say is that this album's artwork and title inspire more confidence in the musical content inside, even if the album is not intrinsically superior in quality than its predecessor. From that Remaining Aura, Duke chose to retain much less personnel for this album's sessions, relying on the now-faithful Chancler, the returning Moreira (two tracks) and having Alphonso Johnson (ex-Weather report) on bass.

After a "normal" jr/f opening Dawn track, follows an atrociously-sung and strange For Love track, not totally devoid of interest, but the slow-fusion Foosh lacks fire and if Floop De Loop (George, who was your dealer at the time??) returns to the Beck/Hammer-sounding (but guitar-less) realm, this is starting to sound like just another Duke fusion album, with its already heard composition a flogged-to-death formula, but it ends up being one of my faves of the present album.

On the flipside, Malibu is not exactly successful Latino-fusion track with its cheesy vocals and no-less kitschy synth sounds (by this time, Duke had bought a Moog, but was obviously still a rookie with it), and Fools is an atrocious love ballad that could've fit on a Barry White album. The short spacey Echidna's Arf makes a calm intro to the sickeningly over-sweetish cover of Zappa's Uncle Remus, which again breaks the album's continuity. The closing outro of The Aura again returns to the usual funky fusion of his.

Aura is to be approached with caution, because there are a few objectionable tunes that breaks the album's overall fusion cohesiveness, but then again these tracks are numerous enough to start questioning if this album "fusion" label is the correct one. I wonder if George would gathered the JR/F tracks on one side and glued the other weirdies together on the flipside might not have been wiser choice, than this strange mix and un-match mess.

 I Love The Blues, She Heard My Cry by DUKE,GEORGE album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.99 | 11 ratings

I Love The Blues, She Heard My Cry
George Duke Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars A slightly disappointing album that sees Duke heading in a funky directions, where vocals take on a more important role, but it's not yet at the detriment of the music. Recorded in late 74 and released the following year under a puzzling old cotton-field blues-type of cliché photo (is that an oxymoron or what?) and title, which for the longest of time fooled me into avoiding it. Getting lots of studio help from whoever was around from the Zappa entourage and the Santana crowd and others hanging around, this is still a fairly interesting album at times

If Chariot and Her Eyes are good funky-leaning tracks, I must say that the vocals turn me off a bit. Some tracks are still instrumental like the quiet Beck/Hammer-sounding Serene Sister, That's What She Said or the funky-spacey-jungle Mashavu, but the majority has vocals, including the rocking-Hendrix-ey (that means very guitar-ey) and spoof-ey Rokkinrowl track; fun stuff. I wouldn't want to overstress the vocals, as they are not too intrusive except on the totally out-of-character bluesy title track closing the album and the awful Someday just preceding it.

The flipside is certainly more prone to singing, including the ultra-funky-jazzy Prepare Yourself, but it has a fine middle section where the Miller/Johnson duo shines on bass and guitar respectively. Giant Child starts on a slightly dissonant intro, which bears little resemblance to what's been just heard, being more standard jazz, but soon jumps into the fusion fire with a horn section and strings. Don't be fooled like I was for almost two decades by the misleading artwork and title, this is still a good fusion album, which is rather pleasant until it reaches the final two tracks to become a bit of "n'importe-quoi", ruining the album's cohesiveness. Make sure you investigate previous duke albums, but this one is still likely to please progheads.

 Faces In Reflection by DUKE,GEORGE album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.04 | 11 ratings

Faces In Reflection
George Duke Jazz Rock/Fusion

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.

 Déjà Vu by DUKE,GEORGE album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.02 | 4 ratings

Déjà Vu
George Duke Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by J-Man
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Sometimes I really wonder why I still bother with new George Duke releases. Even after being disappointed time and time again by his recent albums, I still bought Déjà Vu right after its release date. With a hazy memory of the disastrous Dukey Treats in my mind, I was hoping that many of the issues there could be solved with Déjà Vu. Although Déjà Vu is a slight improvement over its predecessor, it's still a mediocre album at best. If you are looking for smooth adult contemporary jazz, you'll find a lot of that. If you're looking to hear George Duke's mastery as a jazz fusion keyboard maestro, you'll be sorely disappointed. With the sole exception of a few tracks, this is an hour of boring soul-funk that will make you wonder just where Dukey went wrong. Strangely enough, the good songs on this album (which are very few) are what make this album so disappointing. George Duke has proven that he still knows how to play solid jazz rock - it's more an issue of him choosing to play radio-friendly smooth jazz. There's no doubt that there's an audience for Déjà Vu, but I must say that I'm not part of it.

As previously mentioned the music here is adult contemporary jazz with very few jazz rock tendencies. Compositionally, the songs aren't that enjoyable either, regardless of my own genre preferences. Songs like "Bring Me Joy" and "Come to Me Now" are extremely cringe-worthy, whether it be from the clichéd lyrics, boring instrumentation, or awful radio-friendly vibe. The only songs that are slightly above average are the two closers, "Stupid Is As Stupid Does" and the title track. Unfortunately, waiting 40 minutes to get to those songs is pretty worthless. Despite my lack of affection towards this album, that isn't to say that there's nothing good about it. The musicianship and production are both excellent and professional, but that isn't nessacerily a huge surprise when you consider the product that we're dealing with here. The production is expected to be pretty good on a professional album like this, as is the musicianship from this cast of musicians. The biggest problem here is just that this is over-polished contemporary jazz that is often uninspired and boring. A good production and delivery can't quite change that.

Déjà Vu is yet another disappointing album from George Duke. I keep hoping he'll go back to making great jazz rock, but I guess it's just not meant to be. There's hintings of greatness here, but they are much too few and far between to spend your money on. The only people I would recommend this album to are fans of smooth jazz and George Duke completists. Because the production and musicianship are good, I'll go with a very small 2 stars. If you've been disappointed with other recent George Duke albums, odds are that Déjà Vu won't change your mind.

 Reach For It by DUKE,GEORGE album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.96 | 8 ratings

Reach For It
George Duke Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Easy Money
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

3 stars In 1977 the initial burst of creative energy that had fueled the world of jazz fusion was starting to wane and fusion pioneers were being eclipsed by new musical stars who were rising from the flashy world of funk, a musical style that was enjoying a creative and popular peak, making it more and more appealing to certain fading fusion stars. I was suspicious of this album, 'Reach for It', when it first came out, as much as I was enjoying EW&F and Parliament during their heyday, I felt for George Duke to head in that popular direction was pure money driven sell-out.

I'm glad I re-visited this record and gave it a second chance. It still comes across as an attempt at commercial success, as the 'reach for it' in the title suggests, Georgie wanted a piece of the pie that had been going to George Clinton and Maurice White, but on the plus side Duke backs his claim for commercial recognition with a very well-made highly polished album that is thoroughly creative from start to finish. What we get here is smorgasbord of styles that late 70s fusion had fractured into as well as some derivative funk as Duke tries out being EW&F on one song and then Bootsy meets Zappa on another. The fusion numbers include one Afro-Cuban scorcher, two Brazilian numbers and one prog-rock flavored cut with great guitar work from Icarus Johnson.

The big hit that George wanted from this album came from the title cut which used to play on late 70s RnB radio in the states along side other classics of the time like Flashlight and Brick House, ..those were the days. As much as it used to bother me that Duke had resorted to turning out hits, re-visiting this song reveals a fairly original and bizarre construction for a radio hit. Basically what we have here is a hard RnB piano riff that repeats insistently while bassist Byron Miller turns in a powerhouse bass solo with a huge flanged sound while the beautiful women on the album cover offer unobtrusive chanting invites to 'dance'. In retrospect I'm kind of surprised it got as much play as it did, its not your standard pop tune.

Overall this is a superbly crafted album that mixes pop and fusion elements into songs that George Duke meant to put into as many home stereos as possible. One interesting plus is that the album opens and closes with excellent ambient space-rock interludes on analog synthesizer.

Thanks to snobb for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives