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Face The Music

Face The Music

1 Sep 2002
4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 1 Sept. 2002
  • Release Date: 2 Sept. 2002
  • Label: BizarrePlanet Entertainment
  • Copyright: (C) 2002 BPM Records
  • Total Length: 1:10:54
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B001GISQBK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 115,194 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)
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As I write this review I'm still a little shocked to have heard that George Duke died of heart complications while being treated for chronic lymphocytic leukemia on 5 August 2013. I was checking back through his back catalogue and I can't figure out how I missed this 2002 opus. During the 70s and early 80s I would buy anything that George released, or almost anything George played on immediately, without first hearing. I was never disappointed. He was part of Frank Zappa's best ever band. His tunes have been sampled by Daft Punk, Kanye West/Common, and A Tribe Called Quest. He played on Michael Jackson's Off The Wall, and contributed to Miles Davis' Tutu album/band. George was a great composer and song writer, a fantastic pianist using melody, space and speed in equal measures, and you could argue that he was the most influential user of the synthesizer in jazz rock. In the 90s up to his death (in my opinion) some (but not all) of his output felt formulaic and repetitive, but this album is not one of those. It's a return to the kind of jazz found on his MPS/BASF albums of the 70s like Faces In Reflection or The Aura Will Prevail, or the tunes in between the more commercial jazz funk and soul ballads of his later albums. He lays down a groove with a fantastic drummer and bass player, in this case Christian McBride and Little John Roberts, sets the tune with added brass or keyboards punctuation, and then gives himself and the other players space to play.

If you can't afford the whole album, download the first 3 tracks, but be aware you'll come back for all of it later. The Black Messiah (Part 2) uses crowd noise and the voice of Cannonball Adderley from a 1970 live recording of George's tune, and ends with Mr Adderley waxing lyrical about his band member.
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Format: MP3 Download Verified Purchase
George Duke is a fantastically talented pianist / keyboard player. He can match chops with anybody out there.
However, most of his output in the last thirty years has been very, very commercial, leaning heavily towards the soul / pop market, and not his jazz roots.
So this album is a gem in the mostly mire - George Duke playing as we used to know and love him, going full throttle on the Moog synth (Ten Mile Jog), or exuberantly tickling the ivories (My Piano) or showing his humerious side (Creeping).
Aside from a few background vocals, this is instrumental fare, a lot of it sounds like it was recorded live, but to an extremely high standard, I'm impressed at just how good the 320K MP3 sounds, even through a top end hi-fi.
If you are any kind of Duke fan, get this.
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