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.
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