George Duke was a prolific performer, composer, and producer. Those familiar with his work will know that the influence of The Keyboard Pioneer, as many have been calling him, cannot be understated.
Duke passed away last night due to complications from leukemia, which he had been fighting for some time. After hearing the news, many of his friends and fans took to social media to remember the influential musician, share stories about how he touched their lives and their musical landscape, and help younger generations understand just how much of an impact Duke has had on the musical landscape.
One of the most moving tributes has to be that of Christian McBride. The pair had worked together many times over the years, and were clearly very close.
Marcus Miller also paid tribute to the late innovator on his Facebook page, saying: “I can’t believe that I’m writing these words. George Duke has passed. This one is extra tough. He’d just lost his wife a year ago. George was one of those special human beings who changed the feeling of whatever room he occupied. When you were around him everything just seemed better, lighter, more positive. Tremendous musician, incredible human being… No one who knew him will be quite the same now that he’s moved on.”
Duke was a prolific performer,composer and producer who played a large number of instruments; including piano, keyboard, organ, keytar, trombone, bass, vocals, and synth to name but a few. He can be found on some of the most prolific recordings of all time, including Michael Jackson’s “Off The Wall,” where he played synths.
RIP George Duke (January 12, 1946 – August 5, 2013). You leave behind an incredible musical legacy that will not be forgotten any time soon.