Sunday, May 26, 2013

George Duke DreamWeaver Concord Music Group 2013


Out of tragedy their often comes triumph, a renewed sense of self and a creative force that is focused like a laser beam on the task at hand. George Duke is back with what is a cathartic release that may arguably be his finest work since recording with bassist Stanley Clarke. The genesis of DreamWeaver occurred shortly after the passing of Duke's wife, Corine. While on a Capital Cruise checking out some bands but not performing himself, Duke began writing and the rest is soon to be history with the July 18th release looming.

George Duke surrounds himself with a illustrious cast of characters including bassists Christian McBride and Stanley Clarke along with Teena Marie, Lalah Hathaway, Rachelle Ferrell, Jeffrey Osborne and guitarist Paul Jackson Jr. George Duke indeed has his groove back! The sonic color palette on DreamWeaver runs the musical spectrum from an infectious jazz swing to funk and a more gospel infused pop and R & B sound that has become synonymous with the name George Duke.

A few tunes that caught my ear include "Stones of Orion" that highlight the often overlooked piano artistry of Duke. Old friend Stanley Clarke is featured on up right bass on this back to the future gem that is bit a small example of the diversity that highlights this release. The marathon 15 minute "Burnt Sausage Jam" is a tune reinvented from his 2002 Facing The Music release and the poignant ballad "Missing You" are all tunes worth of special note if not intense air play on any of the platforms available to listeners today. A special mention has to go to "Ball and Chain" which features some of the last recorded vocal work from R & B vocalist Teena Marie before her untimely passing. Another outstanding musician that passed soon after the recording is the late guitarist Jef Lee Johnson.

The musical resume of George Duke is indeed the stuff dreams are made of having worked with such industry giants as Jean Luc Ponty, Al Jarreau and the late Frank Zappa.

George Duke is working on not only getting his groove back but refined and growing his sound with a smoldering blues infusion running just below the surface. A true giant and an incredible summer release await his fans and is poised to bring some new listeners into the fold as well!