The Sony/BMG Original Album Classics series brings together 5 CD's of rare and out of print titles with some best sellers from the Sony/BMG Rock catalog. Many of these albums have been unavailable on CD for some time and are sought after by collectors. Each set is presented in a high quality, rigid cardboard slipcase containing five vinyl replica mini LP sleeves. This 5 CD collection of original releases featuring George Duke includes the albums From Me To You, Reach For It, Don't Let Go, Follow The Rainbow, and A Brazilian Love Affair.
After years of producing albums which were more pop/funk than jazz oriented, George Duke simmers down, leaves off the R&B vocals, and takes a little creative license on the self-proclaimed "mood record" After Hours. While his recent Muir Woods Suite showed off his affinity for classical music, here he's at his best on the meditative Vince Guaraldi-type trio ballads "Together as One" and "Sweet Dreams," which glide along on the improvisational and gently swinging graces of Christian McBride and Leon "Ndugu" Chancler. A whole project in this vein would have been welcome, but Duke charters other new territory, too; on the easy grooving "The Touch" and the almost new agey "From Dusk Till Dawn," he borrows the actual Rhodes from Joe Sample but winds up perfectly simulating Bob James' "Taxi" vibe, especially on the exploratory solo on the latter tune. The untrained ear might swear it's an actual James recording, but Duke's a clever enough producer to go beyond strict imitation. "The Touch" achieves an intriguing low-toned brew, as Sheridon Stokes' bass flute melody drifts gently over a hypnotic weave of Larry Kimpel's bass and Duke's Rhodes.
In 1971 George Duke, having just recently done his time with the Mothers of Invention, was engaged by the Cannonball Adderley Quintet. Beginning in April of that year, Duke made two recordings over a short timespan that on their release in 1973 as a double LP (against the desire of the artists, by the way), would be a major statement. On Chapter One of his fusion autobiography, “Solus”, Duke, along with the skeleton crew of bassist John Heard and drummer Dick Berk, tries out the new compositional philosophy he had absorbed from his work with Adderley. The album was obliged to maintain a jazzy environment, illustrated by the harmonically flowing piano improvisation on “Love Reborn” and the bop-influenced busyness of “The Followers”. But the record also signifies the importance of the keyboards in all their diverse contexts – the funky rock of “Au-right”, and the smoldering, dreamy feel of “Peace”, for instance.
Greatest Hits is a fine ten-track overview of the funk keyboardist's late-'70s/early-'80s recordings, containing all three of his Top Ten R&B hits ("Reach for It," "Dukey Stick," "Sweet Baby") plus a good selection of minor hits and album tracks.
A brilliant player on both acoustic and electric basses, Stanley Clarke has spent much of his career outside of jazz, although he has the ability to play jazz with the very best. He played accordion as a youth, switching to violin and cello before settling on bass. He worked with R&B and rock bands in high school, but after moving to New York, he worked with Pharoah Sanders in the early '70s. George Duke showed a great deal of promise early in his career as a jazz pianist and keyboardist, but has forsaken that form to be a pop producer.
Following two studio recordings, this impressive band hit the road and cut this session with keyboardist George Duke. Their encounter provided for an uneven, but infectious, recording. "Hip Pockets," composed by Cobham, and "Ivory Tattoo," composed by Scofield, begin the session with some intense playing. Things get a bit goofy with "Space Lady" (a song which probably worked better live), and a bit melodramatic with "Almustafa the Beloved."