Feel (Remaster) George Duke
- 1Funny Funk05:18
- 3The Once Over04:41
- 5Cora Joberge02:47
- 6Old Slippers05:38
- 7Theme from the Opera Tzina01:59
- 8Yana Aminah04:29
Info for Feel (Remaster)
This album with the strange psychedelic sci-fi cover draws a tighter circle around Duke’s fusion language. The keyboard master ventures deep into his synthesizer laboratory. Their textures become a more essential component of his pieces, attaining orchestral dimensions, as evidenced in the opener, “Funny Funk”, with its smacking, squishing tongue-in-cheek dialogue between the synths. A virtuoso layering of the keyboards is also central to “Cora Joberge”, and on “Rashid”, Duke’s electronic orchestra explodes over the stormy drums of Leon “Ndugu” Chancler. Duke shows himself to be a singer with a soulful sound. Shortly before this recording he had shelved his trombone so that he could communicate more directly with the audience, as can be heard in the hymnal, dreamlike title piece. The guest list of players make for an especially exciting concoction. No less than Duke’s playing companion Frank Zappa, under the cryptic pseudonym Obdewl’l X, performs some adventuresome guitar passages on “Love” and “Old Slippers”. On the California-sunshine pop samba, “Yana Aminah”, we have a surprise visit by Brazilian Flora Purim, wife of percussionist Airto Moreira, who opens up his bag of tricks on “The Once Over”, and plays on three more tracks.
„A valued sideman, by the mid-'70s Duke would become a star and influential in his own right. For this 1974 MPS release, Frank Zappa had relinquished his studio time for Duke. The kind gesture immediately reverberated throughout jazz circles and beyond. By the time of this release, Duke's extensive resumé included two stints with Zappa's Mothers of Invention as well as some time with saxophonist Cannonball Adderley. Although this would be the third album under his name, Feel's eclectic mix of fusion and rock is his debut in the genre of which he'd later become a leader. The ARP synth-adorned and buoyant 'Love' features Duke's blissful, falsetto vocals and Zappa's intense and searing guitar solos. The beautiful and ethereal title track boasts one of Duke's most effective melodies. The song also shows up as 'Statement,' an instrumental one minute and 15 seconds in length. The funky instrumental 'Old Slippers' has impeccable drumming by Leon 'Ndugu' Chancler, with Zappa again joining the fun with a gorgeous solo. A top-notch and insouciant Latin excursion, 'Yana Aminah' features great double-tracked vocals from Flora Purim and well as Duke's deft synths, which replicate strings. Feel proves that, even at this relatively early stage, Duke's intelligent ear for melodies and his keyboard prowess set him apart from his contemporaries.“ (Jason Elias, AMG)
George Duke, keyboards, vocals, synthesizer bass
John Heard, acoustic and electric bass
Airto Moreira, percussion
Leon 'Ndugu' Chancler, drums, percussion
Flora Purim, vocals
Obdewl'l X (Frank Zappa), guitar
Engineered by Kerry McNabb
Produced by Baldhard Falk
The scope of keyboardist-composer-producer George Duke's imprint on jazz and pop music over the past forty years is almost impossible to calculate. He has collaborated with some of the most prominent figures in the industry. A producer since the 1980s, he has crafted scores of fine recordings – many ofthem GRAMMY winners – for artists representing almost every corner of the contemporary American music landscape.
Duke was born in San Rafael, California, in January 1946. When he was four, his mother took him to a performance by that other Duke of jazz, Duke Ellington. He admits that he doesn't remember much of the performance, but his mother told him years later that he spent the next several days demanding a piano.
Duke began his formal training on the instrument at age seven, his earliest influence being the culturally and historically rich black music of his local Baptist church. By his teen years, his universe of musical influences had expanded to include the more secular sounds of young jazz mavericks like Miles Davis, Les McCann and Cal Tjader – all of whom inspired him to play in numerous high school jazz groups. After high school, he attended the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and received a bachelor's degree in 1967.
But perhaps the most important lessons came after college, when Duke joined Al Jarreau in forming the house band at the Half Note, the popular San Francisco club, in the late '60s. He also played with Sonny Rollins and Dexter Gordon in other San Francisco clubs around the same time.
For the next several years, Duke experimented with jazz and fusion by collaborating and performing with artists as diverse as Jean Luc-Ponty, Frank Zappa,Cannonball Adderley, Nancy Wilson, Dizzy Gillespie, Billy Cobham and Stanley Clarke. He launched his solo recording career at age 20, and shortly thereafter began cutting LPs for the MPS label in the '70s. As the decade progressed, he veered more toward fusion, R&B and funk with albums like From Me To You (1976) and ReachFor It (1978).
During this period he recorded what is possibly his best known album, Brazilian Love Affair. Released in 1980,the album included vocals by Flora Purim and Milton Nascimento, and percussion by Airto Moreira. Love Affair stoodin marked contrast to the other jazz/funk styled albums he was cutting at the time.
Duke's reputation as a skilled producer was also gathering steam. By the end of the'80s, he had made his mark as a versatile producer by helping to craft recordings by a broad cross section of jazz, R&B and pop artists: Raoul deSouza, Dee Dee Bridgewater, A Taste of Honey, Jeffrey Osborne, Deniece Williams, Melissa Manchester, Al Jarreau, Barry Manilow, Smokey Robinson, The Pointer Sisters, Take 6, Gladys Knight, Anita Baker and many others. Several ofthese projects scored GRAMMY Awards.
During this time, Duke was just as busy outside the studio as inside. He worked asmusical director for numerous large-scale events, including the Nelson Mandelatribute concert at Wembley Stadium in London in 1988. The following year, along with Marcus Miller, he served as musical director of NBC's acclaimed late-night music performance program, Sunday Night.
The'90s were no less hectic. He toured Europe and Japan with Dianne Reeves and Najeein 1991, and joined the Warner Brothers label the following year with therelease of Snapshot, an album that stayed at the top of the jazz charts for five weeks and generated the top 10R&B single, 'No Rhyme, No Reason.'
Other noteworthy albums in the '90s included the orchestral tour de force Muir Woods Suite (1993) and the eclectic Illusions (1995), in addition to the numerous records Duke produced for a variety of other artists: Najee, George Howard, the Winans, and Natalie Cole (Duke produced 1/3 of the material on Cole's GRAMMY winning 1996 release, Stardust).
In 2000, Duke severed his ties with Warner Brothers and launched his own record label, BPM (Big Piano Music). 'I spent thirty years at other labels as arecording artist,' he says. 'I felt it was time for me to step up to the next level of challenge and form a company that would give me and other artists the opportunity to create quality music and push back the musical restraints that dominate most record labels these days.'
But even with the new responsibilities and challenges associated with running arecord label, Duke has continued to juggle the multiple career tracks ofrecording solo albums, international touring and producing records for otherartists. In addition to his own Face the Music (2002), he also produced recent records for Wayman Tisdale, Dianne Reeves, Kelly Price, Regina Belle and Marilyn Scott.
For the better part of 25 years, Duke has also composed and recorded numerous scores for film and television. In addition to nine years as the musical director for the Soul Train Music Awards, he also wrote music – either individual songs or entire soundtracks –for a number of films, including The Five Heartbeats, Karate Kid III, Leap of Faith, Never Die Alone and Meteor Man.
With more than thirty solo recordings in his canon and a resume that spans more than 40 years, Duke joined forces with the Heads Up label with the 2008 release of Dukey Treats, a return to the old-school funk sensibilities of icons like James Brown, Sly and the Family Stone and Parliament/Funkadelic.
His most recent Heads Up recording is Déjà Vu, an album that revisits the classic synthesizer sound that characterized some of his most memorable recordings from the golden age of funk, soul and jazz in the mid-1970s. It is a glance back, but with a very contemporary sensibility – a piece of work that comes together very much in the present, but also conjures up a persistent feeling of something great that came before. Déjà Vu is scheduled for release on August 10, 2010.
'I've always considered myself a multi-stylisticartist,' says Duke. 'I try to take people on a musical journey, whether it's on an album or in a show. I think the style of music that you choose to play is really irrelevant, as long as you're honest about what you're trying to present - and Déjà Vu is an honest look back and forward at the same time.'
This album contains no booklet.