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Producer/Keyboardist George Duke Dead at 67

Music industry icon George Duke, known for his keyboard work and ability to cross multiple genres, passed away Monday in Los Angeles. He was 67.

Although primarily associated with jazz (initially gaining fame as the leader of the George Duke Trio), in his career Duke also ventured into R&B, funk pop, rock, avant-garde and even Brazilian pop. Besides releasing 30 solo albums across his career, Duke collaborated with some of the biggest names in the industry, including Frank Zappa, Anita Baker, Al Jarreau, Jeffrey Osborne and many others. He is remembered as a pioneer in piano and keyboard work, starting with jazz piano and working into synthesizer (thanks in part to his work on Frank Zappa’s records). He played keyboards on Michael Jackson’s 1979 album Off the Wall.

As a producer, Duke worked on records for several high-profile artists, including Miles Davis, Natalie Cole, Dionne Warwick and others. He also served as a musical director for a number of major events, including The Soul Train Music Awards and the Nelson Mandela tribute concert in 1988 in London.

George Duke was suffering from chronic lymphocytic leukemia at the time of his death. His wife Corine passed away last year from cancer. Duke’s last album DreamWeaver was released just last month.


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About the Author

on MUSIC IS MY OXYGEN WEEKLY.

David Tillman is an independent composer/arranger whose primary work involves writing jingles for commercials for radio and television, with several film and television placements to his credit as well. David has a fascination for all things related to the music business and the music industry in general, an obsession which his wife finds to be mildly unhealthy at times. His personal tastes in music are in electronica and industrial rock, and include The Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk and Nine Inch Nails (he loves that Trent Reznor is writing soundtracks!). When not in his office or in his man-cave, David enjoys skiing, hiking, the occasional game of golf, and sometimes just lounging by the pool. David lives with his wife and three children in Los Angeles, CA.

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