January 12, 1946 – August 5. 2013
George Duke was a highly regarded jazz musician, singer, composer and producer who successful crossed over to R&B and pop throughout the years. Born and raised in the San Francisco area, Duke began picking up various instruments at an early age. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in trombone and composition while Minoring in the contrabass. He later went on the earn a Master’s in composition. Armed with these credentials, Duke kicked his music career into high gear upon graduating from college. It was during the mid ’60s that he started dabbling in what would become known as jazz fusion and more avant-garde styles. Over the course of his career, he released nearly 50 albums which oftentimes touched on funk, R&B, Latin jazz, and most notably, jazz fusion, the style he helped create the blueprint for. As a collaborator, the list of artists he worked with reads like a pop music encyclopedia. It includes Jean-Luc Ponty, Michael Jackson, Miles Davis, his cousin Dianne Reeves, George Clinton, Cannonball Adderley, Anita Baker, and most consistently, Frank Zappa for whom he played on over a dozen albums. In 1988, Duke served as the musical director at the Nelson Mandela tribute concert at Wembley Stadium in London. In recent years, his music was sampled by Daft Punk, Common, Mylo, and many more. In July of 2013, he released DreamWeaver as a tribute to his wife who passed away in 2012. George Duke was 67 when he passed away on August 5, 2013. Cause of death was not immediately released.
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