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."
Deja Vu is 2010's bookend to 2008's Dukey Treats. That record explored George Duke's funk roots and channeled everything from Earth, Wind & Fire to P-Funk, artists who inspired his own successful run of funk outings. Deja Vu revisits Duke's love of electric funky jazz. Here he recalls some of the production and musical techniques he employed in the '70s. Along with playing a load of synths (mono and analog), Rhodes and Wurlitzer electric pianos, clavinet, acoustic piano, and even miniMoog bass are in abundance, too. The production is pure retro; compared to the contemporary jazz recordings of the 21st century, Deja Vu sounds almost organic.
A dream of a set – at least to our Brazilian-loving ears – a special package that brings together all the best Brazilian-flavored cuts from George Duke's late 70s run on Epic Records! The package is filled with wonderfully sunny grooves throughout – tunes that sparkle and soar with mighty nice rhythms – topped with loads of keyboards from George, and vocals that often have a scatting, breezy style that's plenty sweet – American soul influenced by Brazilian grooves, in a sound that's a bit like the feel of Earth Wind & Fire's "Brazilian Rhyme".
Straightforward small combo jazz (basically an electric/acoustic piano trio with occasional guitar, reeds and percussion) of a kind that George Duke's detractors say he has long since abandoned, In a Mellow Tone is indubitably a mainstream jazz record with little adventurous spirit and a sound that occasionally even verges on the easy listening horrors of smooth jazz. However, as such albums go, it's more than pleasant, with Duke's underrated piano and Fender Rhodes technique driving the songs.