Lost but not least! George Duke – Rhyme Or Reason (Shelter Mix) (Fall Out Records)
There’s an instant familiar feel on this. And how could it ever be different as a matter of fact? Bringing us back some 25 years ago with the release of ‘No Rhyme No Reason’. One of the standout smoothies from George Duke‘s ‘Snapshot’ along along with Rachelle Ferrell and Jim Gilstrap on the backing vocals.
Well, just like Masters At Work did on Earth, Wind & Fire‘s ‘Can’t Hide Love’, David Lalla would take on this cool gem. Turning its title into ‘Rhyme Or Reason’, and bringing it to another level.
What a(nother) challenge! And what a(nother) blast which the latter delivers… Keepin’ all the original elements alive and affixin’ them over a smooth House-driven rhythm pattern.
Rhyme or reason… You hardly find anything better than this whenever speakin’ of a reconstruction. Do you?
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…