Jazz keyboardist George Duke dead at 67
George Duke, the Grammy-winning jazz keyboardist and producer whose sound infused acoustic jazz, electronic jazz, funk, R&B and soul in a 40-year-plus career, has died. He was 67.
A representative for Duke said the performer died Monday night in Los Angeles. Duke was being treated for chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Duke was born in San Rafael, Calif. He appeared on a number of Frank Zappa albums and played in the Don Ellis Orchestra, Cannonball Adderley's band and with jazz musician Stanley Clarke. Duke also played keyboard on Michael Jackson's multiplatinum 1979 album, Off the Wall.
On tour as part of the George Duke Trio, he performed in Los Angeles at a show where Adderley, Zappa and Quincy Jones were in attendance. Duke soon joined Zappa on a tour for a year in 1969. He joined Adderley's band in 1971. He met Clarke through Adderley, and they formed the Clarke/Duke Project. Their song Sweet Baby was a Top 20 hit on the Billboard pop charts.
Duke became a solo artist in 1976 and released more than 30 solo albums. He also produced for Miles Davis, Smokey Robinson, Gladys Knight, Dionne Warwick and Natalie Cole.
Duke's wife, Corine, died from cancer last year. His latest album, DreamWeaver, was released last month and features a touching tribute to her.