Duke is a musical legend or more than this, a lighthouse of jazz and
funk. He performed with a legion of prominent musicians like Al
Jarreau, Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon, Jean Luc-Ponty, Frank Zappa,
Dizzy Gillespie, Stanley Clarke and more. He started his solo projects
in the early age of 20 and therefore it is nearly impossible to count
all projects he was involved in.
favorites are the albums Night After Night (1989), Snapshot
(1992) and Illusions (1995), I love the phenomenal and
unsurpassed intro of Illusions. Further albums, I can
recommend, are Is Love Enough (1997) and Duke (2005).
I always preferred the energetic funky Duke to the more mellow
balladeer. So I enthusiastically announce the glad tidings: George
Duke is back to the Funk. George associates a special philosophy with his new
album: “I didn’t want to drift too far away from the old school
sensibility. That was my main objective. I wanted to do an album where
everybody went into the room at the same time and played. That’s
important, because the personalities of the musicians come through,
and it’s not just a progression of different musicians coming in one
at a time, sitting down in front of a computer and laying down a
The result is much
emotion and a vibrant atmosphere between all musicians. The second
condition for an excellent album are experienced and gifted musicians
with personality. George is a magnetic field for remarkable talents
and so we can recognize on his new albums among others players like
Christian McBride (bass), Michael Manson (bass), Sheila E
(percussion), Michael "Patches" Stewart (trumpet) and popular singers
like Jonathan Butler, Howard Hewett, Teena Marie, Rachelle Ferrell and
the great talent Lyne Fiddmont. The discovery of this year is however
drummer Ron Brunner jr. who is responsible for the stunning funky
groove on Dukey Treats.
Musical experience and George's devilish mood that creates a great
community and a fertile soil for the precious plant, we call good
music. Since ground zero the word hero is on everyone's lips. George
Duke pays tribute with Everyday Hero: “This is the first tune I
wrote for the album. I wanted something funky that had something
relevant to say. It’s sort of a Sly Stone vibe, only on steroids.” Ron
Brunner Jr. slaughters his drums. The horn section - Everette Harp
(sax), Dan Higgins (sax), Michael Stewart (trumpet) and Reggie Young
(trombone) - is off the hook. Michael Manson's bass and Je Lee
Johnson's wah guitar are top-notch. Funk, that what it is.
I Tried To Tell
You, but you wouldn't listen. A mighty love ballade reveals George
Duke's subtle keys treatment on Rhodes, clavinet and synth. Dee Dee
Foster and Jim Gilstrap, two prolific vocals with a rich history as
session singers strike you down.
wondered what happened to funny funk,” comments George A Fonk Tail.
“What happened to the fun and comedy in R&B. This track is recorded in
that old-school tradition.” He means the funny behavior and
appearance of George Clinton's Parliament/Funkadelic. This tune is a
narration, somehow philosophy and a big bunch of fun.
George Duke delivers a delicious explanation for the title: Dukey
Treats are Aural nutrients for the mind, body and soul that when
administered correctly can lead to mental, physical and spiritual
healing - and a cause a tinglin' in yo hip bone - uh, did I say
somethin? A culmination of funk and fun. Byron Miller pulls out
all the stops of his funky bass. What a monster bass.
showcases on Listen Baby that he still has a mesmerizing and
young voice. He presents the same style like the late Donny Hathaway.
Legends never die. Mercy is funk and fun again. Experience of
life wrapped in words and music.
“I feel a
responsibility to carry positive messages in my music,” says Duke. “I
think music is meant to lift people up. I don’t think you can push
things under the rug and not address them. Those who have the ability
and the opportunity to let people know what’s going on musically and
socially should not be afraid to say it and do it and play about it
and sing about it.” So George Duke wrote and performs the critical
Somebody Laid It On Us, a wake-up call in the tradition of Marvin
Gaye. Listen to the message!
remix) was originally recorded for Duke's album Face The Music
(2002). George Duke remixed the old version with a big bunch of
exceptional singers like Howard Hewett, Kenya Hathaway, Byron Miller
and more. On Right On Time George Duke sings in the falsetto
style of Curtis Mayfield. George ennobles the song with his
performance on synth, Rhodes and piano. The icing on the top are
Rachelle Ferrell's vocals. Her prolific ability to reach the highest
tones is remarkable.
The misery in
Dafur and the helplessness of the general public to stop that crime in
Africa motivated George Duke to write the song Sudan. George
comments: "Joining me to talk about it is Jonathan Butler and Teena
Marie. The song is not as much a political statement as it is an
awakening to the tragic human situation being extolled there."
composed Are You Ready with the music of Earth, Wind & Fire in
his mind. "What I always loved about their style was not just the
great music but also the positive messages - peace, respect, and
tolerance." I certainly don't stand alone, when I wholeheartedly
follow this message.
The instrumental Images Of Us is George's playground for an
extensive solo on synth and Rhodes while Ron Brunner jr. shines
on drums. The syncopated bass is performed by Michael Manson.
are George's delicious sweets, sometimes with a bitter aftertaste,
but that's life and necessary to keep watch. George Duke sets with
Dukey Treets new standards in music and awareness.