A brilliant player on both acoustic and electric basses, Stanley Clarke has spent much of his career outside of jazz, although he has the ability to play jazz with the very best. He played accordion as a youth, switching to violin and cello before settling on bass. He worked with R&B and rock bands in high school, but after moving to New York, he worked with Pharoah Sanders in the early '70s. George Duke showed a great deal of promise early in his career as a jazz pianist and keyboardist, but has forsaken that form to be a pop producer.
George Duke:Here are some great musicians on the record. Steve Ferrone did the majority of the drumming (aside from the Synclavier drums); Paul Jackson on guitar, Paulinho Da Costa on percussion; and Louis Johnson on bass.I had some valid musical ideas, but they just couldn't be sustained by my vocal ability. In other words, in general the material is good, but I should have used other lead vocalists whose voice and vocal ability fit the songs better.
For the past 35 years George Duke has been one of the least predictable jazz,funk and fusion keyboard players around.
And this new album simply titles 'Duke' shows that he hasn't changed.In the past decade and a half Duke's sound,as so many other musicians of his type has been forced to compete with many younger (and often less ambitious) singers and musicians who are more popular then he is.So to get it out of the way that is way modern R&B singer Eric Benet sings on "Somebody's Body",which is redeemed totally by Duke's wonderful piano stylings.Elesewhere this CD is a close to wonderful as Duke has ever been.On "Trust",the pulsating "T-Jam" and the more contemporary "Saturday Night" Duke delivers classic funk in his own unqiue style,just as he does on the midtempo "I Wanna Know",
Released in 1974, Faces in Reflection was, in many ways, George Duke's third album as a leader for MPS. The first two, Solus and The Inner Source, were recorded separately but issued as a double-LP by SABA, which shortly thereafter ceased doing business and was folded into MPS. That said, there is little resemblance between the man who recorded his early albums like Save the Country, those aforementioned, and the seasoned studio experimentalist who cut Faces in Reflection. Duke's periods with Cannonball Adderley and Frank Zappa (the latter an ongoing relationship; it was Zappa who introduced Duke to the synthesizer) had taught him a ton musically and about working in the studio. The players here include Leon "Ndugu" Chancler and bassist John Heard.