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George Duke
Biography by Scott Yanow

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. Inspired early on by Les McCann, he worked with a trio in San Francisco during the mid-'60s. In 1969, Duke accompanied Jean-Luc Ponty, recording with the violinist. After eight months with the Don Ellis Orchestra, he joined Frank Zappa for much of 1970. Duke spent 1971-1972 with Cannonball Adderley and then returned to Zappa for 1973-1975. In 1975, he worked with Sonny Rollins, co-led a group with Billy Cobham, and then formed a funk band (the Clarke-Duke Project) with Stanley Clarke. By the late '70s, he was completely outside of jazz, playing R&B and producing projects for pop artists. Although he has since expressed interest in returning to active playing, little of George Duke's post-1976 work is relevant to jazz, but he has kept himself busy with projects. Dukey Treats appeared in 2008 from Heads Up Records.

Content provided by All Music Guide. (C) 2009 All Media Guide, LLC.
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