My introduction to Californian George Duke was in the Seventies and I believe it was the song “Dukey Stick” from the 1978 LP “Dont Let Go.” Dukey Stick charted #4 R &B while the LP “Don’t Let Go” charted # 5 R&B, #7 Jazz and #39 on the Billboard 200.
Do you see the young Shelia E on drums in this clip?
This type of funky R&B was just the tip of the musical iceberg for Duke, whom I would consider primarily a jazz musician, with a musical catalog that spanned from 1966 right up until his untimely death in 2013. Check out George Duke Online promoting his July 2013 release entitles Dream Weaver.
Friends Stanley Clarke and George Duke collaborated on 1981′s “The Clark/Duke Project Vol. 1.” The LP peaked at #1 Jazz, #7 R&B and #31 on the Billboard 200. Duke composed “Sweet Baby,” from this LP, that is another one of my favorites.
Duke died August 5, 2013 in Los Angeles from chronic lymphocytic leukemia. He was only 67 years young. He spent his entire adult life writing, composing, performing, producing and just living music and he will be sorely missed by both fellow musicians and fans.
Enjoy some of these tributes by his peers at Mr. Dukes Memorial Service, held 8/19/13, that I found on the YouTube Treasury of video.
R.I.P and thank you Mr. George Duke.