Saturday, June 14, 2008

Box Set of the Day - "George Duke: My Soul"

Box Set of the Day
George Duke: "My Soul - The Complete MPS Fusion Recordings" (MPS) 2008
This electrifying 4-CD set brings together six LPs from George Duke's creative heyday.
Project coordinated by Sergej Braun. Series producer: Matthias Kunnceke.
The 18-page booklet, edited by Doug Payne, includes original liner notes, new texts by Rolf Thomas, George Duke and Baldhard G. Falk (executive producer of the LPs), and some rare photos; Flora Purim looks gorgeous in a pic by Bruce W. Talamon... Another photo shows Duke working at Paramount Studio, in Hollywood, with sound expert Kerry McNabb, who was simply the best and most in-demand recording engineer in the entire California during the fusion days of the 70s. Sad news are mentioned on Duke's text: "Last I heard, he took over his father's company which specialized in making knobs."
Back to the music. Besides playing acoustic piano (there's a great version of Milton Nascimento's "Maria Três Filhos" which he also recorded on Cannonball Adderley's "The Happy People" album), Fender Rhodes (in most of the 64 tracks), an array of analog Arp and Moog synthesizers (including his peculiar Moog bass lines on "Funny Funk", "Cora Jobege" and "Rashid", three of the best tracks from the 1974 "Feel" album) and even trombone (during the early days of the 1971 sessions), Duke also sings in some songs such as "Someday" (not to be confused with the Mario Castro-Neves bossa of the same name), his first radio hit back in 1975.
The sidemen also play their asses off: bassists Alphonso Johnson, John "Eusi" Heard (heard on Moacir Santos' "The Maestro"), Byron Miller (whom Duke "stoled" from Roy Ayers' band) and Tom Fowler, druumer Leon "Ndugu Chancler", guitarists Lee Ritenour (long before his "smooth period"), Daryl Stuermer, David Amaro (playing acoustic guitar on a beauty bossa tune "After the Love" featuring wordless vocals by his wife Bonnie Bowden Amaro, fresh from her stint with Sergio Mendes & Brasil 77) and Frank Zappa, using the alias name of Obdewl'l X on "Old Slippers" and "Love". Not to mention the dynamite Brazilian couple Flora Purim & Airto Moreira, close associates of Duke till the 21st century.
"I think I made some of my best records on MPS," Duke says today. "The freedom was fantastic, I could do exactly the music I wanted to do, I wasn't interested in the business side of music at all, I was young and just wanted to play my music and reach people. I think I succeeded!"
Available through
Their comments:
An amazing package of work from George Duke -- 6 of his legendary fusion albums for MPS Records, including the never-reissued double-length set Solus/The Inner Source! That incredible album is worth the price of the package alone -- as it begins with some sublime trio work from Duke, rooted in jazz but already stretching out in amazing ways -- then moves into some even hipper Latin-styled grooves, with Jerome Richardson on reeds and Luis Gasca on a bit of trumpet! Other albums in the set are equally great -- and trace Duke's evolution from straighter jazz into funky freer fusion and soul -- an incredible musical shift that's presented on the albums Faces In Reflection, Feel, I Love The Blues She Heard My Cry, The Aura Will Prevail, and Liberated Fantasies -- each of them classics in their own right, presented together wonderfully here in this complete MPS package! The set is amazing -- with a whopping 64 titles in all, and complete notes on all the music -- including some recollections from Duke himself. © 2008, Dusty Groove America, Inc

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