Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Keyboardist, producer Duke dies

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NEW YORK -- George Duke, the Grammy-winning jazz keyboardist and producer whose sound infused acoustic jazz, electronic jazz, funk, R&B and soul in a 40-year-plus career, has died. He was 67.

A representative for Duke said the performer died Monday night in Los Angeles. Duke was being treated for chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

Duke's son, Rashid, thanked his father's fans in a statement Tuesday.

Duke was born in San Rafael, Calif. He appeared on a number of Frank Zappa albums and played in the Don Ellis Orchestra, Cannonball Adderley's band and with jazz musician Stanley Clarke. Duke also played keyboard on Michael Jackson's multiplatinum 1979 album, Off the Wall.

His wife, Corine, died from cancer last year. He was unable to make music for months, but he overcame his grief to create the album DreamWeaver, released last month. It features a touching tribute to his late wife on the romantic piano-driven ballad Missing You.

Duke said he learned a lot about music from going to church, which helped him add a funk style to his sound. He played in high-school jazz groups and was heavily influenced by Miles Davis. On tour as part of the George Duke Trio, he performed in Los Angeles at a show where Adderley, Zappa and Quincy Jones were in attendance. Duke soon joined Zappa on a tour for a year in 1969. He joined Adderley's band in 1971. He met Clarke through Adderley, and they formed the Clarke/Duke Project. Their song Sweet Baby was a Top 20 hit on the Billboard pop charts.

Duke became a solo artist in 1976 and released more than 30 solo albums. He also produced for Miles Davis, Smokey Robinson, Gladys Knight, Dionne Warwick and Natalie Cole.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 7, 2013 C3

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