George Duke is a musical legend or more than this, a lighthouse of jazz and funk. He performed with a legion of prominent musicians like Al Jarreau, Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon, Jean Luc-Ponty, Frank Zappa, Dizzy Gillespie, Stanley Clarke and more. He started his solo projects in the early age of 20 and therefore it is nearly impossible to count all projects he was involved in.

My personal favorites are the albums Night After Night (1989), Snapshot (1992) and Illusions (1995), I love the phenomenal and unsurpassed intro of Illusions. Further albums, I can recommend, are Is Love Enough (1997) and Duke (2005).  I always preferred the energetic funky Duke to the more mellow balladeer. So I enthusiastically announce the glad tidings: George Duke is back to the Funk. George associates a special philosophy with his new album: “I didn’t want to drift too far away from the old school sensibility. That was my main objective. I wanted to do an album where everybody went into the room at the same time and played. That’s important, because the personalities of the musicians come through, and it’s not just a progression of different musicians coming in one at a time, sitting down in front of a computer and laying down a track.”

The result is much emotion and a vibrant atmosphere between all musicians. The second condition for an excellent album are experienced and gifted musicians with personality. George is a magnetic field for remarkable talents and so we can recognize on his new albums among others players like Christian McBride (bass), Michael Manson (bass), Sheila E (percussion), Michael "Patches" Stewart (trumpet) and popular singers like Jonathan Butler, Howard Hewett, Teena Marie, Rachelle Ferrell and the great talent Lyne Fiddmont. The discovery of this year is however drummer Ron Brunner jr. who is responsible for the stunning funky groove on Dukey Treats.

Musical experience and George's devilish mood that creates a great community and a fertile soil for the precious plant, we call good music. Since ground zero the word hero is on everyone's lips. George Duke pays tribute with Everyday Hero: “This is the first tune I wrote for the album. I wanted something funky that had something relevant to say. It’s sort of a Sly Stone vibe, only on steroids.” Ron Brunner Jr. slaughters his drums. The horn section - Everette Harp (sax), Dan Higgins (sax), Michael Stewart (trumpet) and Reggie Young (trombone) - is off the hook. Michael Manson's bass and Je Lee Johnson's wah guitar are top-notch. Funk, that what it is.

I Tried To Tell You, but you wouldn't listen. A mighty love ballade reveals George Duke's subtle keys treatment on Rhodes, clavinet and synth. Dee Dee Foster and Jim Gilstrap, two prolific vocals with a rich history as session singers strike you down.

“I’ve often wondered what happened to funny funk,” comments George A Fonk Tail. “What happened to the fun and comedy in R&B. This track is recorded in that old-school tradition.” He means the funny behavior and appearance of George Clinton's Parliament/Funkadelic. This tune is a narration, somehow philosophy and a big bunch of fun.

George Duke delivers a delicious explanation for the title: Dukey Treats are Aural nutrients for the mind, body and soul that when administered correctly can lead to mental, physical and spiritual healing - and a cause a tinglin' in yo hip bone - uh, did I say somethin? A culmination of funk and fun. Byron Miller pulls out all the stops of his funky bass. What a monster bass.

George Duke showcases on Listen Baby that he still has a mesmerizing and young voice. He presents the same style like the late Donny Hathaway. Legends never die. Mercy is funk and fun again. Experience of life wrapped in words and music.

“I feel a responsibility to carry positive messages in my music,” says Duke. “I think music is meant to lift people up. I don’t think you can push things under the rug and not address them. Those who have the ability and the opportunity to let people know what’s going on musically and socially should not be afraid to say it and do it and play about it and sing about it.” So George Duke wrote and performs the critical Somebody Laid It On Us, a wake-up call in the tradition of Marvin Gaye. Listen to the message!

Creepin' (ghoulie remix) was originally recorded for Duke's album Face The Music (2002). George Duke remixed the old version with a big bunch of exceptional singers like Howard Hewett, Kenya Hathaway, Byron Miller and more. On Right On Time George Duke sings in the falsetto style of Curtis Mayfield. George ennobles the song with his performance on synth, Rhodes and piano. The icing on the top are Rachelle Ferrell's vocals. Her prolific ability to reach the highest tones is remarkable.

The misery in Dafur and the helplessness of the general public to stop that crime in Africa motivated George Duke to write the song Sudan. George comments: "Joining me to talk about it is Jonathan Butler and Teena Marie. The song is not as much a political statement as it is an awakening to the tragic human situation being extolled there."

George Duke composed Are You Ready with the music of Earth, Wind & Fire in his mind. "What I always loved about their style was not just the great music but also the positive messages - peace, respect, and tolerance." I certainly don't stand alone, when I wholeheartedly follow this message.

The instrumental Images Of Us is George's playground for an extensive solo on synth and Rhodes while  Ron Brunner jr. shines on drums. The syncopated bass is performed by Michael Manson.

Dukey Treets are George's delicious sweets, sometimes with a bitter aftertaste, but that's life and necessary to keep watch. George Duke sets with Dukey Treets new standards in music and awareness.



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  • Album information:

    Title: Dukey Treats
    Artist: George Duke
    Year: 2008
    Length: 1:04:29
    Genre: General Jazz / Funk
    Label: Heads Up International


    01 Everyday Hero [5:04]
    02 I Tried To Tell You [4:44]
    03 A Fonk Tail [4:06]
    04 Dukey Treats [6:53]
    05 Listen Baby [5:35]
    06 Mercy [5:39]
    07 Somebody Laid It On Us [4:50]
    08 Creepin' (ghoulie remix) [5:01]
    09 Right On Time [5:28]
    10 Sudan [5:11]
    11 Are You Ready [4:32]
    12 Images Of Us [7:25]