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Jazz Workshop 1966 Import

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Audio CD (14 April 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Mps
  • ASIN: B004JZJ82I
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 669,382 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I first bought this album back in 1989 in the record shop that sat on the corner of Hatfield Market, not knowing at the time of any of the band members but intrigued by the grainy photos on the reverse and the bemusing notes (written in Spanish) that seemed to indicate that someone was playin a bass trumpet... What more could you want from the bargain vinyl that was still available in the early days of the CD revolution?

Of the many albums I've bought on such whims over the years, this one stands out in my memory (along with Lou Donaldson's 'Blues Walk') because it was such a gold-encrusted gem. So much so that ever since the dawn of the Internet discography I've been trying to find it on CD. And finally, over twenty years later, it's here! George Duke, minus the jazz-funk keyboard slung across his shoulder, playing beautiful jazz piano with a solid rhythm section and, yes, a bass trumpet crafting some very gentle lines over the top.

On his own website, George Duke describes it as the worst record he ever made, saying that he just plays the head nicely and rattles out high speed runs instead of crafted solos. As someone who never understood the appeal of the jazz-funk that Duke moved into during the 70s, this album have become, for me, a high-water mark to which Duke has, sadly, never returned.

On the album, Duke is accompanied by David Simmons on bass trumpet, John Heard on bass and George Walker on drums. Simmons, who plays beautifully with the tone of a trombone and the fluency of the trumpet, appears to have recorded only once for this album. He died in 2010. The similarly elusive George Walker also appears to have a scant discography despite remaining tight throughout.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Recorded Origin Of A Genius 25 April 2014
By Senor Quicksdraw - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
For the record, I'm not giving this 5 stars for the material, which is fairly unremarkable, as George Duke recordings go. In fact, George Duke himself is on record as hating this album. If you visit the late Mr. Duke's website, though, you'll find as you read through his album-by-album reflections on his body of work, that he was his own worst critic. Nothing the jazz elitists ever said about him was more critical than George has said himself about his own work.

I bought this as a download because the rarity of the physical CD and the historical significance of it has driven up the price. Since the recording dates back to 1966, it's unlikely that I suffered any compromise in sound quality. When I say the material on this download is "unremarkable", that doesn't mean it isn't good. George was fresh from the Conservatory and sought to establish himself as a *serious* artist. He went on to play with Cannonball Adderley, and after that, Frank Zappa and The Mothers Of Invention. It was Frank Zappa who not only encouraged him to lighten up and have some fun, but who also introduced him to the electronic keyboards. And the rest, as they say, is history.

I had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of George Duke and his lovely wife, Corine, back in 2010 aboard a cruise ship for a week. I met him again in 2011. A year later, Corine passed away and George himself left us just over a year later. They were such wonderful people to be around that I felt a profound sense of loss, and I mourn their passings to this day.

Having spent a fair amount of time with the man behind the music, I'm prepared to say that you can learn a lot about who he was and about his life just by listening to the music. Seriously. And if you want the entire story, you have to begin here. Also the CD he recorded himself on a Wollensak with an unknown school teacher named Al Jarreau.
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