For George Duke it wasn’t enough for the keyboardist, producer, and bandleader to simply become a successful musician. Indeed, the 67-year-old San Rafael, California native, who passed away after a battle with cancer on Tuesday, had ambitions of establishing himself as a groundbreaking visionary and musical provocateur. Possessing a stunning range that saw him go from alternative rock with influential guitarist Frank Zappa to the forefront of the jazz-fusion revolution, Duke also proved himself to be equally adept as a funkateer and go-to R&B ringleader.
Logging studio time with everyone from Miles Davis to Michael Jackson, it’s little wonder why such music luminaries as Questlove, Erykah Badu, and former band member Sheila E. have offered heartfelt tributes to the forward-thinking artist. Yet the man behind such influential albums as I Love The Blues, She Heard Me Cry (1975), Reach For It (1977), Don’t Let Go (1978), Follow The Rainbow (1979), and the Clark/Duke Project (1981) has also had a profound impact on hip-hop and dance music. VIBE presents 10 standout songs that sampled the music of the great George Duke. Respect.—Keith Murphy (@murphdogg29)
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