Thursday, January 14, 2010

George Duke

The Hague Jazz 2009 - George DukeImage by Haags Uitburo via Flickr

George Duke was born on January 12, 1946 in San Rafael California. George Duke went to Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley, he earned a bachelor’s degree in music from San Francisco Conservatory in 1967. George Duke was raised in Marin City. When he was four years old his mother took him to a Duke Ellington concert, he said his mother told him he went crazy. George said his mother said he ran around saying ’Get me a piano, get me a piano!’ He started studying the piano at the age seven, absorbing his black roots in his local Baptist Church, he said “That’s when I started playing funky”. George Duke teamed up with a young singer named Al Jarreau they formed a group which be became the house band at Half Note Club in San Francisco. George later received a Masters Degree in composition from San Francisco University and taught a course on Jazz And American Culture at Merrit Junior College in Oakland. George Duke heard on a local jazz station that violinist Jean-Luc Ponty was coming to California to record, he sent a tape and a note to Dick Bock at World Pacific Records saying “There is no other pianist for this guy but me”, I guess when your George Duke you have that kind of clout. George made a name for himself with the album The Jean-Luc Ponty Experience with the George Duke Trio. The first time I saw George Duke was at ‘Soul on the Green’ concert at the Oakland Stadium in the summer of 1979. When he came out playing “Dukey Stick” the crowd went wild, that was truly one of my highlights that summer. In the mid 1970s George appeared on a number of Frank Zappa’s albums, Chunga’s Revenge, 200 Motel, Waka/Jawaka, The Grand Wazoo, Apostrophe, Over-Nite Sensation, One Size Fits All, Bongo Fury and Roxy & Elsewhere. George Duke became a solo artist in 1976 with his fusion oriented LP’s ‘From Me To You‘ and in 1978 his funk flavored album ‘Reach For It’ this made George reach high on the charts from small clubs to large arenas George Duke other collaboration include Stanley Clark, Billy Cobham, Cannonball Adderley, his cousin Dianne Reeves, Deniece Williams Jeffrey Osborne, George Clinton, Anita Baker, Regina Belle, Rachelle Ferrell, Marilyn Scott and Mike Mainieri’s fusion group Step Ahead. George Duke was also producer and composer on two of Miles Davis tracks “Backyard Ritual” and “Cobra”.
George latest project is George Duke ‘Dukey Treats’, I like “Every Day Hero’ it is funky. Today is George Dukes birthday, Happy Birthday George God Bless and Keep Bringing The Funk .


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