George Duke

George Duke, born January 12, 1946, and died August 5, 2013, was an American musician. He is best known for his work as a keyboard innovator, composer, singer, and producer in jazz and other popular musical genres. As an arranger, music director and writer, co-writer, record producer, and professor of music, he had worked with many renowned artists. With The Jean-Luc Ponty Experiment with the George Duke Trio, he made his name. His thirty-one solo albums were his most notable, but he was also known for his collaborations and performances with Frank Zappa. Duke was a graduate of Tamalpais High School, Mill Valley. He then earned a bachelor’s degree from the San Francisco Conservatory in 1967 in composition and trombone. Duke began his playing with his friends in garages and local clubs. He quickly mastered session work which honed his skills and broadened his musical approach. He later received his Masters Degree from San Francisco State University in composition. His website mentions that he taught a class on Jazz and American Culture at Merritt Junior College, Oakland. In 1967, Duke began to experiment with jazz fusion. He played and recorded with Jean-Luc Ponty and also performed with Cannonball Adderley’s group, while he was acquainted with Frank Zappa. In the mid- and early 1970s, Duke was featured on several Frank Zappa albums, including Chunga‚Äôs Revenge and 200 Motels. He also played and recorded with Jean-Luc Ponty, Waka/Jawaka and The Grand Wazoo.

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