General News

Jazz icon George Duke dies at 67

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Aug 06, 2013 | 1:16pm EDT

Iconic jazz musician and producer George Duke has died at the age of 67. He passed away on Monday night (05Aug13) at St. John's Hospital in Los Angeles, where he had been receiving treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, his publicist has revealed. Duke's son, Rashid, has thanked fans for their support following the news of his dad's death in a statement which reads: "The outpouring of love and support that we have received from my father's friends, fans and the entire music community has been overwhelming. Thank you all for your concern, prayers and support." Duke, who learned to play the piano at the tender age of four, began working in the industry as a session musician in the late 1960s, working with violinist Jean-Luc Ponty and performing with the Don Ellis Orchestra. It was during that time that he met eccentric trailblazer Frank Zappa, who recruited Duke to appear on a number of his albums in the 1970s, including Chunga's Revenge, 200 Motels and The Grand Wazoo. Famed for his ability to fuse jazz, soul, R&B and funk, he became known for playing with jazz bassist Stanley Clarke and drummer Billy Cobham and joined Cannonball Adderley's band, with which he experienced chart success with their song Sweet Baby. He stepped out on his own in 1976 and went on to release more than 30 solo albums throughout a career spanning more than four decades. His last release, DreamWeaver, was released in July (13) and featured a touching tribute to his late wife, Corine, who died from cancer last year (12). As a producer, Duke worked with legendary stars including Miles Davis, Smokey Robinson, Gladys Knight and Dionne Warwick, while he contributed to movie soundtracks for The Five Heartbeats and Karate Kid III. He also famously played keyboard on Michael Jackson's classic 1979 album, Off the Wall. Duke's compositions have continued to inspire modern musicians and he has been sampled by the likes of Daft Punk, Kanye West and Ice Cube.

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