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George Duke Greatest Hits

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George Duke was the rare musician who was equally respected as a jazz virtuoso, a pop songwriter, and a purveyor of heavyweight funk jams. Though Duke recorded several albums of exploratory fusion jazz, this collection focuses on his crossover success. It works for Duke because his pop music was so authentic. He never sold out; on the contrary, he sold homegrown funk to the mainstream. The monstrous basslines of “Dukey Stick,” “Reach for It,” and “Movin’ On” made him an icon for a generation of rap producers. At the same time, he had an almost preternatural talent for slow jams, and “Starting Again,” “Lady,” and “Just for You” would endure over multiple generations. Duke’s crossover success is made more extraordinary by the fact that he never seemed to chase it. While this concise 10-song survey portrays a pop genius, these songs all emerged from an immense backlog of deep jazz and complex fusion work. Duke’s greatest legacy was that he never segregated his interests and instead let them feed each other, which in turn ignited his popularity.


Born: January 12, 1946 in San Rafael, CA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

George Duke was an accomplished keyboardist, producer, arranger, bandleader, and composer. He was successful in both popular music and jazz, and straddled both sides of that aisle for most of his career. Duke grew up in Marin City, California, and in high school played in his first jazz group. His early influences were Miles Davis, Les McCann, and Cal Tjader, all of whom played a role in the diversity of his composing, playing, and arranging. After graduating from high school, he attended the San...
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