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From Blakey to Brown, Como to Costa, Eckstine to Eldridge, Galbraith to Garner, Harris to Hines, Horne to Hyman, Jamal to Jefferson, Kelly to Klook; Mancini to Marmarosa, May to Mitchell, Negri to Nestico, Parlan to Ponder, Reed to Ruther, Strayhorn to Sullivan, Turk to Turrentine, Wade to Williams… the forthcoming publication Treasury of Pittsburgh Jazz Connections by Dr. Nelson Harrison and Dr. Ralph Proctor, Jr. will document the legacy of one of the world’s greatest jazz capitals.

 

Do you want to know who Dizzy Gillespie  idolized? Did you ever wonder who inspired Kenny Clarke and Art Blakey? Who was the pianist that mentored Monk, Bud Powell, Tad Dameron, Elmo Hope, Sarah Vaughan and Mel Torme? Who was Art Tatum’s idol and Nat Cole’s mentor? What musical quartet pioneered the concept adopted later by the Modern Jazz Quartet? Were you ever curious to know who taught saxophone to Stanley Turrentine or who taught piano to Ahmad Jamal? What community music school trained Robert McFerrin, Sr. for his history-making debut with the Metropolitan Opera? What virtually unknown pianist was a significant influence on young John Coltrane, Shirley Scott, McCoy Tyner, Bobby Timmons and Ray Bryant when he moved to Philadelphia from Pittsburgh in the 1940s?  Would you be surprised to know that Erroll Garner attended classes at the Julliard School of Music in New York and was at the top of his class in writing and arranging proficiency?

 

Some answers  can be gleaned from the postings on the Pittsburgh Jazz Network.

 

For almost 100 years the Pittsburgh region has been a metacenter of jazz originality that is second to no other in the history of jazz.  One of the best kept secrets in jazz folklore, the Pittsburgh Jazz Legacy has heretofore remained mythical.  We have dubbed it “the greatest story never told” since it has not been represented in writing before now in such a way as to be accessible to anyone seeking to know more about it.  When it was happening, little did we know how priceless the memories would become when the times were gone.

 

Today jazz is still king in Pittsburgh, with events, performances and activities happening all the time. The Pittsburgh Jazz Network is dedicated to celebrating and showcasing the places, artists and fans that carry on the legacy of Pittsburgh's jazz heritage.

 

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Duke Ellington is first African-American and the first musician to solo on U.S. circulating coin

    MARY LOU WILLIAMS     

            INTERVIEW

       In Her Own Words

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Category: Entertainment Published on Tuesday, 06 August 2013 03:04 Written by Charles Gans, Associated Press Writer Hits: 1720 38

Editors Note: According to Jazzwisemagazine.com, it has been reported veteran jazz, R&B, funk and fusion keyboard virtuoso George Duke has died at age 67. This news comes after a difficult period for the acclaimed keyboardist and composer whose wife Corine passed away just over a year ago. The Radio Facts website states that Duke died on 5 August but no other details have yet been confirmed as to the cause of his death, which comes while he had just launched his latest album, Dreamweaver, which he’d dedicated to his wife’s memory.

http://www.jazzwisemagazine.com/news-mainmenu-139/70-2013/12804-jaz...

George Duke, "DreamWeaver" (Heads Up International)

George Duke was left devastated by the death of his wife, Corine, from cancer a year ago and unable to make music for months, but the keyboardist and composer eventually overcame his grief to create an inspiring collection of mostly original compositions called "DreamWeaver." He weaves together the eclectic threads of his 40-plus year musical career: acoustic jazz, electronic jazz-rock fusion, funk, R&B and soul.

The mid-tempo "Stones of Orion," which pairs Duke on acoustic piano with longtime collaborator Stanley Clarke on upright bass, is a gently swinging modern jazz composition that recalls his early days with Cannonball Adderley's band. Duke's distinctive ability to make vintage synthesizers — the ARP Odyssey, Minimoog, clavinet and Prophet 5 — sound bluesy and funky comes through on the 15-minute "Burnt Sausage Jam."

Duke also assembled an impressive lineup of soul and R&B vocalists, including Lalah Hathaway, Jeffrey Osborne and BeBe Winans on the uplifting, gospel-influenced "Change the World," which takes after Michael Jackson's "We Are the World." ''Ball & Chain," written by Teena Marie for a jazz album she planned with Duke, is one of the late powerhouse singer's last recorded performances.

Duke expresses his love for his late wife on the tender, piano-driven ballad "Missing You," a romantic vocal duet with Rachelle Ferrell. The album ends by turning the cowboy ballad "Happy Trails" — Dale Evans' closing theme to "The Roy Rogers Show" — into a soulful, heartfelt farewell to his wife, made even more poignant by the sudden death of guitarist Jef Lee Johnson shortly after he recorded the fadeout guitar solo.

____

Follow Charles J. Gans at www.twitter.com/chjgans

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The Jazz Network Worldwide family mourns the loss of Music Legend George Duke...our prayers go out to his family and friends...RIP George, you are so missed already, your music will keep on in our hearts.

Jazz Keyboardist George Duke Dies at 67

 


Image: George Duke
KEYSTONE, JEAN-CHRISTOPHE BOTT, FILE / AP US jazz artist George Duke performs on the Stravinski Hall stage at the 43rd Montreux Jazz Festival, in Montreux, Switzerland.

 

(NEW YORK) — 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’s son, Rashid, thanked his father’s fans in a statement Tuesday. “The outpouring of love and support that we have received from my father’s friends, fans and the entire music community has been overwhelming,” he said. “Thank you all for your concern, prayers and support.”

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.”

His wife, Corine, died from cancer last year. He was unable to make music for months, but he overcame his grief to create the album “DreamWeaver,” released last month. It features a fusion of sounds and a touching tribute to his late wife on the romantic piano-driven ballad “Missing You.”

He began taking piano lessons when he was 4 years old, after seeing Duke Ellington perform. “I don’t remember it too well ... but my mother told me I went crazy,” Duke said on his website. “I ran around saying, ‘Get me a piano, get me a piano!’”

Duke said he learned a lot about music from going to church, which helped him add a funk style to his sound. He played in high-school jazz groups and was heavily influenced by Miles Davis. He earned degrees from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and San Francisco State University.

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.

He worked as musical director for the Soul Train Music Awards and other special events. He also scored songs on soundtracks for “The Five Heartbeats” and “Karate Kid III.”

 

 

Read more: http://entertainment.time.com/2013/08/06/jazz-keyboardist-george-du...

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LEGENDARY KEYBOARD PIONEER GEORGE DUKE DIES AT 67 

 
   

  

 

NEW ORLEANS GRAMMY® Award-winning keyboardist/composer/arranger/producer George Duke has died George Duke in Los Angeles at age 67. He was battling and being treated for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).

 

Duke last performed in New Orleans during the 2013 New Orleans Jazz Fest this past year.  In 2008 he served as the artist-in-residence for the Louis Satchmo Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp along with the faculty (including Clyde Kerr, Germaine Bazzle, Nicholas Payton, Steve Masakowsky, Kidd Jordan, Kent Jordan and more) at Club 300 Jazz Bistro (300 Decatur Street) in New Orleans. 

 

With almost a half a century career, Duke was one of the world's most prolific jazz legends. From leading a jazz trio with a young Al Jarreau during his formative years to working with Jean-Luc Ponty, which afforded Duke's first recording contract with MPS Records and his first exposure to Europe, to his incredible work with Cannonball Adderley, drummer Billy Cobham, and Frank Zappa, to his cherished stream of jazz-funk records in the '70s, Duke found his mark not only in his eclecticism, but also his signature approach to the synthesizer, which often prized less pyrotechnics in favor of blues elements.

 

"We are all devastated by the sad news of George's passing," says Mark Wexler, General Manager of the Concord-Telarc Label Group. "He was a great man, a legendary, one-of-a-kind artist; and our hearts go out to his family. George will be missed by all."

 

"The outpouring of love and support that we have received from my father's friends, fans and the entire music community has been overwhelming," says Rashid Duke, George's son. "Thank you all for your concern, prayers and support."

 

 

Duke was born in San Rafael, California, in January 1946. When he was four, his mother took him to a performance by that other Duke of jazz, Duke Ellington. He admits that he doesn't remember much of the performance, but his mother told him years later that he spent the next several days demanding a piano.

Duke began his formal training on the instrument at age seven, his earliest influence being the culturally and historically rich black music of his local Baptist church. By his teen years, his universe of musical influences had expanded to include the more secular sounds of young jazz mavericks like Miles Davis, Les McCann and Cal Tjader - all of whom inspired him to play in numerous high school jazz groups. After high school, he attended the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and received a bachelor's degree in 1967.

 

But perhaps the most important lessons came after college, when Duke joined Al Jarreau in forming the house band at the Half Note, the popular San Francisco club, in the late '60s. He also played with Sonny Rollins and Dexter Gordon in other San Francisco clubs around the same time.

 

For the next several years, Duke experimented with jazz and fusion by collaborating and performing with artists as diverse as Jean Luc-Ponty, Frank Zappa, Cannonball Adderley, Nancy Wilson, Dizzy Gillespie, Billy Cobham and Stanley Clarke. He launched his solo recording career at age 20, and shortly thereafter began cutting LPs for the MPS label in the '70s. As the decade progressed, he veered more toward fusion, R&B and funk with albums like From Me To You (1976) and Reach For It (1978).

 

During this period he recorded what is possibly his best known album, Brazilian Love Affair. Released in 1980, the album included vocals by Flora Purim and Milton Nascimento, and percussion by Airto Moreira. Love Affair stood in marked contrast to the other jazz/funk styled albums he was cutting at the time.  

 

Duke's reputation as a skilled producer was also gathering steam. By the end of the '80s, he had made his mark as a versatile producer by helping to craft recordings by a broad cross section of jazz, R&B and pop artists: Raoul de Souza, Dee Dee Bridgewater, A Taste of Honey, Jeffrey Osborne, Deniece Williams, Melissa Manchester, Al Jarreau, Barry Manilow, Smokey Robinson, The Pointer Sisters, Take 6, Gladys Knight, Anita Baker and many others. Several of these projects scored GRAMMY Awards.

 

During this time, Duke was just as busy outside the studio as inside. He worked as musical director for numerous large-scale events, including the Nelson Mandela tribute concert at Wembley Stadium in London in 1988. The following year, along with Marcus Miller, he served as musical director of NBC's acclaimed late-night music performance program, Sunday Night.

 

The '90s were no less hectic. He toured Europe and Japan with Dianne Reeves and Najee in 1991, and joined the Warner Brothers label the following year with the release of Snapshot, an album that stayed at the top of the jazz charts for five weeks and generated the top 10 R&B single, "No Rhyme, No Reason."

 

Other noteworthy albums in the '90s included the orchestral tour de force Muir Woods Suite (1993) and the eclectic Illusions (1995), in addition to the numerous records Duke produced for a variety of other artists: Najee, George Howard, the Winans, and Natalie Cole (Duke produced 1/3 of the material on Cole's GRAMMY-winning 1996 release, Stardust)... (click for full bio 

 

Duke's final recording, DreamWeaver, was released July 16, 2013 on Heads Up International, a division of Concord Music Group. The making of DreamWeaver occurred after his wife, Corine, passed away. The album debuted at #1 on Billboard's Contemporary Jazz Chart.

 

Contact:

Mike Wilpizeski at 718-459-2117

Mike.Wilpizeski@concordmusicgroup.com

Too young, too talented.You'll be greatly missed by all your fans. RIP

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