George Duke: DreamWeaver

Posted August 8, 2013 by in Jazz



3/ 5


Genre: Contemporary jazz
Producer: George Duke
Label: Heads Up International
Format: Digital download, compact disc
Time: 60:14
Release Date: 16 July 2013
Spin This: "Missing You," "You Never Know," "Stones of Orion"


Quiet Storm jazz remains Duke's speciality


Funk isn't all that funky; production levels could be better

Sir Duke leaves behind a good portrait of adult contemporary jazz only weeks before his sudden death

by J Matthew Cobb
Full Article

Sir Duke leaves behind a good portrait of adult contemporary jazz only weeks before his sudden death

Emerging from the depressing abyss of the passing of George Duke‘s late wife, the accomplished musician – who himself passed away at the age of 67 this week – focused on music as his way of ushering in much needed therapy. The sudden loss of Corine, in which he spoke about shortly after the album was released, was even the inspiration behind the poignant slow burner “Missing You,” which he claims the evolution of the lyrics only happened after the music track was completed. It stands out as the focal point of the album for those reasons and more. The romantically-tinged piano solos of Duke’s fingers hint at the Quiet Storm magic of 1992’s “No Rhyme No Reason.” It also incorporates guest vocalist Rachelle Ferrell into the mix, while Duke’s tantalizing chorus plays like a bedtime lullaby. The rest aboard DreamWeaver presents a kaleidoscope of his familiar AC jazz (“Trippin’,” “You Never Know”), Kind of Blue musings (“Stones of Orion”) and synth-laden voyages (“Jazzmatazz”). Meanwhile, “Round the Way Girl” puts Duke on a Herbie Hancock-meets-Marvin Gaye odyssey, while showing off his Bunny Sigler-esque crooning. Tracks like “AshTray” toy with his funky side, although it sounds like it is way too bombarded with badly aged ‘80’s synth-funk. “Change the World” hints at the colors of the album’s marquee (“It’s only a dream/But in my heart I see…we can change the world,” the guest-driven chorus sings) while dripping with Hawaiian nods and gospel-draped inspiration. It too slacks in its production, appearing like a remnant ripped from outdated ’80’s culture. Other than the album’s delightful second runner-up “You Never Know,” the album’s closer, a fifteen-minute “Burnt Sausage Jam,” pushes Duke to the limits using fast piano runs and quickly-paced drumming done at the speed of light. Things eventually slow down after the two-minute frantic showcase, giving Duke enough time to cool down and show off his skills using Isaac Hayes bravado. As the finale of Duke’s final album, it’s the perfect summation of brash, unapologetic creativity done by the underrated musical genius.


About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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