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George Duke Is Dead at 67

Prolific keyboardist, composer, producer reigned in jazz, R&B, funk and fusion

George Duke
George Duke (photo: Ben Johnson)

George Duke, the keyboardist, composer and producer who crossed genre lines effortlessly beginning in the mid-’60s, died yesterday (Aug. 5) in Los Angeles. He was battling chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), according to a statement from the Concord Music Group, which released Duke’s latest album, DreamWeaver, on its Heads Up International label just three weeks ago. The album was a tribute to his wife, Corine, who passed away last year.

Duke was a highly prolific artist who released more than 30 albums as a leader, served as a sideman and collaborator with dozens of artists, and produced recordings by a wide variety of singers and musicians. An early experimenter within the emerging fusion and funk genres, he was equally at home playing straightahead jazz, mainstream rhythm-and-blues and Brazilian music.

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