Tribute to George Duke

Former colleague remembers the keyboardist and producer

Jeffrey Jones

The Great George Duke Eminating a Groove

George Duke was the greatest individual music talent I ever heard, or heard about in all my years of being involved with and affected by music. I believe he is one of the greatest overall musicians in the history of music in America. He was a musician, producer, engineer, band leader (Montreux Festival on Tour), Director of Music (Soul Train Awards events), film music director (Five Heartbeat), vocalist, and absolute connoisseur of musicians, food, wine and people. As great as he was among those who could appreciate what he was and what he did… he was the most humble and genuinely kind person you could ever meet.

He loved music, and music loved him back. And for that synergy, we are less for the loss of him. I can’t talk intelligently about all that George accomplished in his career, I’m not that intelligent. But his music and other creative initiatives touched more people than anyone realizes. I can only speak of the time we worked closely together, and I got to know and befriend him. There are many other chapters that I’m sure will be shared by others who were fortunate to be in his orbit, from Stanley Clarke, to Christian McBride to Richelle Ferrell. From Jeffrey Osborne to A Taste of Honey, to Deniece Williams, Anita Baker and many more… all captivated by George’s unique ability to create the perfect sound. Nothing musical was ever missing from his music. As Soliari says in Amadeus “To remove one note there would be diminishment”. That is the legacy of the great George Duke. His contributions are not just good… they are miraculous. Coming up next, the story of George’s BPM label.

Vic McLean
Director of Operations & Promotions 2003-2007 BPM Recordings

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Vic McLean