Michael Jackson’s 1987 “BAD” album had the hit song “MAN IN THE MIRROR” on it that went to #1 on the charts. Look closely at the reflection captured in the mirror backstage after a concert in the 80′s. GEORGE DUKE is ‘the man in the mirror’ relaxing while I speak with his musical partner STANLEY CLARKE, after they had just treated the audience to a fantastic concert as THE CLARKE-DUKE PROJECT.
George and Michael Jackson had another connection, as George was a part of Michael’s huge-selling 1979 album OFF THE WALL. Mr. Duke was known as a jazz artist but actually his talents spread across many music genres. He played, produced and/or wrote songs for talents like Jeffrey Osborne, Smokey Robinson,Miles Davis, Frank Zappa, Deniece Williams, Anita Baker and his cousin Dianne Reeves who is also in this picture wearing the stylish hat and jacket.
George is remembered also for his funk contributions like the title tune from his 1977 album REACH FOR IT, which brought people to the dance floor during the disco era, along with DUKEY STICK in 1979. His music has been sampled many times by rap artists like Ice Cube, on numerous rap songs.
Aside from being an important successful musician as a solo artist and as a recording studio session player, he wrote, arranged and produced hit music for other artists. His musical talents were even translated into a classroom, as he taught a course in jazz at a college.
It was a privelege to interview him back in the 1970’s and 1980’s and hear his colorful, funny stories about being a touring musician and recording artist. He was humble about his musical gift and talents and never took himself too seriously in my opinion. He liked to have musical fun and treat his audience to a great performance. He will be missed. George Duke passed away Monday August 5 in Los Angeles. His wife Corine passed away last year, and they are survived by two sons.
I agree with the tweets sent out about George’s death by recording artists BOOSTY COLLINS and NILE ROGERS (of Chic) that this great musician will be missed. He leaves behind a body of work that crosses many styles of music. Some of that music can be heard while you enjoy OLD SCHOOL 94.5 during our SUMMER OF MUSIC.