Most Wanted! George Duke – I Want You For Myself (Epic)
The end of the 70’s / beginning of the 80’s marked an incredible period of productivity for George Duke. Releasing no less than 3 albums in 1979 and 1980. Meanwhile spanning gems such as ‘Party Down’, ‘I Want You For Myself’, ‘Look What You Find’ and ‘Brazilian Love Affair’.
Speakin’ of that period, Duke said how Earth, Wind & Fire had been an inspiration in terms of production. A fact one certainly can’t deny, with the use of stellar horns. With ‘I Want You For Myself’ standing among his definitive highlights. From Lynn Davis‘s one of a kind vocal performance, displaying a talent to be compared to the ones of Cheryl Lynn if not Mariah Carey. To its outstanding arrangements featuring Sheila E on percussion. But also Byron Miller on bass. Not to mention Bill Reichenbach on trombone and Jerry Hey on flugelhorn. And, last but not least, Duke himself in charge of the strings…
As a result, no wonder why nor how ‘I Want You For Myself’ generated such heavy battles between bidders on eBay in the mid 2000’s…
Interestingly enough, Vick Lavender produced a beautiful rendition of it along with The Dizz, Azza and Mmelashon. Itself featuring as the opening cut to his ‘House Music And Cigars’ compilation on Vibe Boutique Records.
– George Duke has built up for himself one of the most impressive CV’s in the history of contemporary music. Born in San Raphael, CA, he found the revelation at the age of 4 after his mom took him to see Duke Ellington and told him about his experiences. Three years later, he began his formal piano studies, building up his musical approach from these early years. Duke turned professional before he left high school. Back then, he played in a Rock group before joining a Latin band called Jaxx Co-Op.
Moving to San Francisco, he launched a resident Jazz trio at a local club. Meanwhile, he majored in trombone and composition at the SF Conservatory. He then spent 3 years touring as pianist with Al Jarreau, before discovering the electric piano.
Duke eventually played and recorded with French violinist Jean-Luc Ponty. And he also performed with the Don Ellis Orchestra and Cannonball Adderley’s band. By then, he acquainted himself with Frank Zappa. The two guys opening a series of regular cross-collaborations during the 70’s. This, being how Duke established some connections with Zappa‘s associates Johnny Guitar Watson and Lee Ritenour. Last but not least, it’s also Zappa who encouraged Duke to develop his vocals and work with synthesizers.
By the end of the 70’s, the man established himself as a prominent force in the R&B scene. Meanwhile he would start making an impact on what was to become the UK Jazz/Funk scene. From the infectious bass-driven ‘Reach For It’ featuring Byron Miller. To the most sought after ‘I Want You For Myself’ along with Lynn Davis on vocals. But also ‘Brazilian Love Affair’, ‘Shine On’ and ‘Reach Out’. Not to mention ‘Thief In The Night’ soon after his switch from Epic to Elektra. Meanwhile, on a smoother tip, he would deliver the one of a kind ‘No Rhyme, No Reason’ with Rachelle Ferrell on backing vocals back in 1992. A cut which David Lalla transformed into an outstanding smmoth House groover 15 years after on Fall Out Records, titling it ‘Rhyme Or Reason’.
Also on Epic, he has recorded 3 albums with Stanley Clarke under the Clarke/Duke Project guise. Meanwhile, as a composer or producer, Duke has worked with countless luminaries. From The Blackbyrds to Jeffrey Osborne. But also Miles Davis, Deniece Williams and Howard Hewett. Not to mention Larry Graham or 101 North to name but a few. Guesting as a session musician with cats such as T-Connection, Quincy Jones, The Whispers or more recently Jill Scott.
George Duke sadly passed on Aug. 05, 2013 in Los Angeles, CA from chronic lymphocytic leukemia. He was 67…
– A Jamestown, CA native, Lynn Blythe Davis enrolled in dance classes at the Narbonne High School in L.A. Eventually starting to sing at talent shows. Then receiving a message from a friend to audition for The George Duke Band soon after she graduated. She soon after started her professional singing career, joining Duke and his musicians on tour. Jammin’ with extra luminaries such as Sheila E. and Leon Ndugu Chancler among others. Then would come the recording of the 1979 George Duke‘s ‘Follow The Rainbow’ album. With young Detroit drummer Ricky Lawson replacing Chancler who went on to work along with Santana. Then the one of ‘Master Of The Game’
Speakin’ of Davis‘ arrival in the band Duke had the following words on his site… “The addition of Lynn Davis made a huge difference in what I was able to write. I composed with the band in mind, utilizing each of their personal musical strengths.” As many words aptly speakin’ for themselves. With Davis, a lyric soprano, able reach notes beyond the 6th octave. Such as she brilliantly demonstrated when takin’ the lead on ‘I Want You For Myself’.
Strangely enough, and despite her undeniable talent, Lynn Davis never managed to release a recording of her own. Most likely more in her shoes while jamming along with other musicians. And eventually joining groups such as 101 North, Twennynine or the Gene Dunlap Band. When not landing backup vocals and/or do songwriting for other artists. Therefore standing as one of the most recorded session singers in the music industry. With her name appearing along with the one of countless luminaries. From Patrice Rushen to Anita Baker, Gary Taylor or The Brothers Johnson to name but a few…