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In Memory of George Duke

Gigi Brooks shares memories, as well as her interview with, the late keyboardist

Last week the music world lost one of the greatest keyboardists, composers and producers of our time in electronic jazz fusion, acoustic jazz, R&B, funk and soul. George Duke pioneered the keyboard with his innovative chord changes and note bending, which brought a new sound to the electric keyboard. He became recognized in 1969 with the album The Jon Luc-Ponty Experience with The George Duke Trio and for his multitude of collaborations with friend and mentor, the late great guitarist, Frank Zappa. He was also prolific in many genres producing, writing and arranging for some of the most well-known artists in the world such as Miles Davis, Smokey Robinson, Dionne Warwick, Natalie Cole and many others. Duke also played keyboard on Michael Jackson’s multiplatinum album, recorded in 1979, Off The Wall.

Many of us remember George Duke’s longtime collaborations with world-renowned bassist, Stanley Clarke (Clarke/Duke Project); most especially their 1980 Billboard Top 20 hit, “Sweet Baby”.

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