At this month’s ASMAC luncheon, multi-talented George Duke presented a program of his musical views and perspective on the music business. All attending enjoyed it immensely. George’s bio below….
When George Duke 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.” George received his Bachelor of Music degree from San Francisco Conservatory of Music and his Masters in composition from San Francisco State.George and a young singer named Al Jarreau formed a group which became the house band at San Francisco’s Half Note Club. His work with violinist Jean-Luc Ponty evolved into the George Duke Trio which was soon burning a path of creative excitement through the jazz world. It included a major European tour and an appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival. Before ’69 was out, George joined Frank Zappa (as he put together a new “Mothers Of Invention” lineup) and toured for an entire year.
In 71, he joined veteran jazzman Julian “Cannonball” Adderly for 2 years; rejoined Zappa for 3 years; became a solo artist in 1976; and started producing in the late ‘70’s – Raoul de Souza, Dee Dee Bridgewater, A Taste of Honey, Jeffrey Osborne, (including the Top Ten pop singles “Stay With Me Tonight” and “On The Wings Of Love”) and two best-sellers for Deniece Williams (including her across-the-board number one smash “Let’s Hear It For The Boy” and the chart-topping R&B single “Do What You Feel”); Stanley Clarke, Chick Corea, Melissa Manchester, Barry Manilow, Smokey Robinson, Dianne Reeves (Grammys for the ”In the Moment” and “The Calling”), The Pointer Sisters, Gladys Knight, Keith Washington, Johnny Gill, Anita Baker, Milies Davis (receiving a Grammy for “Tutu”), Dionne Warwick, Take 6, and Natalie Cole (including a Grammy for the “Stardust” LP) just to name a small few.
With over 30 solo albums alone, a longstanding association as musical director for the Soul Train Awards, many special performance of his classic Muir Woods Suite, countless film and television projects, US and European tours with his band and a multitude of artists, more Grammy nominations and awards …. there is no end in sight to the non-stop career for George Duke. Join us November 17th to find out what’s next.