|George Duke — DreamWeaver (2013)|
George Duke — DreamWeaver
Born: January 12, 1946 , San Rafael, California
Instruments: Vocals, piano, synthesizer, Keytar, keyboards, contrabass, trombone
Notable instruments: Moog synthesizer
Location: Marin City
Album release: July 16, 2013
Record Label: Heads Up
01 – DreamWeaver 1:28
02 – Stones Of Orion 6:26
03 – Trippin’ 4:22
04 – AshTray 3:59
05 – Missing You 5:44
06 – Transition 1 / Change The World 6:08
07 – Jazzmatazz 4:45
08 – Round The Way Girl 4:11
09 – Transition 2 / Brown Sneakers 6:23
10 – You Never Know 4:03
11 – Ball & Chain 5:58
12 – Burnt Sausage Jam 15:30
13 – Happy Trails 5:02
• George Duke Composer, Primary Artist
• Dale Evans Composer
• Jef Lee Johnson Composer
• Christian McBride Composer
• John Roberts Composer
| ARTISTS ARE DREAMWEAVERS
| We take tangible and intangible elements from the known world and combine them with elements from the spiritual world in order to reach deeper levels of understanding between the two. We spin undeveloped yarn of ideas into reality — it is the ultimate act of creating something from nothing in this world. In short, we are the storytellers and conduits of possibilities. The best of us are those that weave deeper levels of yarn thus giving the fabric more depth. That doesn't necessarily mean that more complexity is better for many times the simplest fabric conveys the strongest meaning. The important thing is intent, message, execution and honesty of design and in that I have always tried to hold my stead. | Thus my musical fabric is diverse with multiple levels. That is the way of life and definitely the way I roll, so enjoy the ride … as Cannon used to say — "”Ahoom”:
01. DreamWeaver — I wanted to begin the album with almost nothing – a sound – a timbre and begin weaving the fabric of the album from that.
02. Stones Of Orion — features Stanley Clarke on upright bass and allows me to create a “tone poem” if you will. I know some musical scholars hate that term but for me it works. The horns take the lead until the piano in the bridge. From there the tune is led by piano and bass with horn accompaniment. I might also mention that Gorden Campbell lays it down on the drums – yes sir!
03. Trippin’ — is the first vocal tune on the album. It features Michael Stewart on muted trumpet and Kamasi Washington on tenor sax. The lyrics reflect the real life story of how I was influenced by the jazz music I heard through the walls of my moms apartment from the guy next door. I was around eight years old and quite impressionable not realizing at the time that the guy most of the time was having sex and the music was merely providing ambience and background music for his escapades (smile).
04. Ashtray — kind of a fonky instrumental tune featuring the horn section and a lot of synth playing. It features me playing lead synth bass, rhodes and various other thangs. The background rapping is basically carried by Stanley Clarke’s son, Chris Clarke. I chime in from time to time and my good friend Rose Geddes is the “lady with a question”
05. Missing You — set very much like “No Rhyme No Reason” and featuring Rachelle Ferrell towards the end of the song, I approach the melody intimately and play the piano like you know I can and sing the melody like you know I do..hello!
06. Transition 1 — exactly what it says…
07. Change The World — one of those “imagine what we could be if we joined forces to fight the various injustices in this world” type song. I know it's a pipe dream but it doesn’t mean that positive energy and messages shouldn’t be brought to the surface in song and verbalized by people of good will who want the best for humanity and not necessarily for personal gain. On board to help me deliver the message is Lalah Hathaway, Jeffrey Osborne, Lori Perry, BeBe Winans, Dira Sugandi, Freddie Jackson, Terry Dexter and the young Kennedy Fuselier. Money, power, lies and greed hypnotize and deceive, but we don’t have to accept it, there must be a way to fix it – we must find a way to fix it.
08. Jazzmatazz — a jazz dance track that features Chill, the son of Walter Booker who was Cannonball Adderley’s bassist for many years while I was a member of the band. The tune features solos by me on piano and rhodes, Ramon Flores on trumpet, Kamasi Washington on tenor sax and Michael Landau on guitar.
09. Round The Way Girl — a light hearted look at running into an old friend and reflecting on the very cool things about a real “round the way girl”
10. Transition 2 — what it is..
11. Brown Sneakers — an instrumental tune originally written for outstanding guitarist Peter Tiehaus. I decided to record the tune, flip it and make it a synth feature. I mainly play Arp Odyssey, Mini Moog and Prophet 5. Bassist Michael Manson, percussionist Lenny Castro and drummer Gorden Campbell help propel this tune down the street..
12. You Never Know — a respectful look at what we know and what we don’t know about this life. With the loss of my wife last year many of these thoughts came to the surface of my mind and so I decided to write a song about it.
13. Ball & Chain — written and sung by Teena Marie, this was to be the first song produced for a Teena Marie jazz album. I was really looking forward to working with her on this project but unfortunately she passed before we had the chance to do more recording. Except for the horns I played all the instruments.
14. Burnt Sausage Jam — the continuation of a jam started on my Face The Music CD called “Ten Mile Jog”. It features bassist Christian McBride, guitarist Jef Lee Johnson and drummer Lil John Roberts. From the original jam session recordings I orchestrated the track and added what I thought it needed.
15. Happy Trails — yep that’s the one, written by Dale Evans and recorded with Roy Rogers – except you know I did a little something different with the tune – check it out.
— George Duke
| In the summer of 2011, he put together a trio with David Sanborn and Marcus Miller for a tour across the US of more than 20 sold out shows.
| By popular vote, Duke was inducted into The SoulMusic Hall Of Fame at SoulMusic.com in December 2012 (http://www.soulmusic.com/.
| George Duke describes this as his "strongest album in years." The brilliant keyboardist-composer-producer has gathered a myriad of voices and crystallizes them into a multi-faceted whole that far outweighs the sum of its parts. From bassist Christian McBride's work on the funky jam tune "Burnt Sausage" to Rachelle Ferrell s contemporary jazz singing on "Missing You," every song offers something special. The powerful centerpiece of the album, the positive and politically charged "Change the World," spotlights several up-and-coming young singers alongside some of the most prominent funk, soul, gospel and R&B artists of the last few decades: Lalah Hathaway (daughter of soul legend Donny Hathaway), Jeffrey Osborne, BeBe Winans, Lori Perry (of sister group Perri), Freddie Jackson and Terry Dexter, among others. A special bonus cut, Ball & Chain, features a duet with Duke accompanying the late R&B singer Teena Maria one of the last tracks she recorded before her sudden death in 2010.
Review by Thom Jurek; Score: ***½
| Dreamweaver marks George Duke's return to recording after a three year silence, and his first since the death of his wife Corine in 2012. While he is always diverse, this set is uncommonly so. The opener, a slippery, atmospheric title intro, flows directly into the Latin-tinged "Stones of Orion," a jazz tune with Duke on piano, Rhodes, and synths, Stanley Clarke on upright bass, and a four-piece horn section. It's shimmering groove-oriented jazz that reflects the time that Duke spent with Cannonball Adderley. ◊ "Trippin'" is a funky, jazzed-up R&B tune where he offers his autobiography; it features some fine muted trumpet work by Michael Patches Stewart. "Missing You" is a jazz ballad tribute to Corine, with the finest vocal Duke has laid down in a decade. But there's funk here, too, in the fat stomper "Ashtray." Another highlight is the leisurely, wonderfully sophisticated, 15-plus-minute "Burnt Sausage Jam," which features Duke on a wide array of keys, Christian McBride on bass, the late, great, and certainly under-celebrated Jef Lee Johnson on guitar, and John Roberts on drums and horns. "Change the World," with a slew of vocalists including Lalah Hathaway, Jeffrey Osborne, and BeBe Winans, is obviously inspired by Michael Jackson's "We Are the World," but is far less anthemic, as it weaves modern gospel, adult contemporary R&B, and reggae into a seamless whole. The biggest surprise here is the inclusion of the sultry, bluesy, nocturnal jazz ballad "Ball & Chain," with the late Teena Marie. It was cut for her Congo Square album, but was shelved because she wanted to use it on a planned collaborative jazz album with Duke. Sparsely adorned with his drum and synth programming, Stewart on trumpet, and Kamasi Washington on tenor saxophone, it's a killer performance from Marie. The closing reading of the Dale Evans' standard "Happy Trails" is rearranged as a soulful, sexy, gospelized jazz tune celebrating the lives of those who added so much to Duke's. While it's true that Dreamweaver's creation was inspired by the desire to move on from so many losses -- Corine, Johnson, Marie -- it is not remotely a sad record. If anything, with its smooth, warm, grooves, it celebrates life in the present.
| By Andre S. Grindle; TOP 1000 REVIEWER; Score: *****
◊ One of the qualities I've always admired about George Duke is the genuine creative meaning he sees within music. By referring in these liner notes to the idea of artists being dream weavers-taking the tangible and intangible elements of the world to reach a deeper level of understanding, makes it clear he doesn't see musicians merely as a commodity to be bought and sold. That 60's/70's ethic is suc h a strong part of his being it deeply influences everything he does. On his previous album Deja Vu George Duke began to show the first signs of musically treading water just a little. Following this he faced two major losses of women who effected him strongly in different ways. There was of course the late and sublimely talented Teena Marie and than his wife Corine. George had always had his family as his creative guiding light, including employing his son Rashid on his website and naming a 1979 song of his after his wife,who was similarly involved with his music as well.. There was also the loss of Jef Lee Johnson,a not too well known guitarist who plays on this album. Together of course with Duke stalwarts such as his right hand man Stanley Clarke and vocalist Rachelle Farrell George Duke gained new ground here by regrouping his creative elements that occurred after these vital losses into music that has totally revitalized his creative energies.
◊ The title song begins the albums as a series of three orchestral synthesized transitions that bridge different sections of this album. "Stones Of Orion" finds George in a very small group type jazzy setting-with Stanley Clarke playing some of his acoustic bass vamping his showcases along with his more famous electric bass works. To a simple,slowed down funk groove Duke reminisces about first hearing Ray Charles, Les McCann and Miles Davis from a musical neighbor on "Trippin". ◊ "Ashtray" is flat out funk all the way,some of the very finest he's every thrown down. Mixing hard grooving rhythm guitars with big synthesizer accents,there's a strong Prince/Minneapolis flavor to this number that is equally appealing. "Missing You" is a very soulful romantic duet between Duke and Farrell's very close lead vocals. "Change The World" is a gospel type message song with Lalah Hathaway, Jeffrey Osborne, Freddie Jackson and BeBe Winans (among others) who take individual turns vocally expressing the songs message of peace and harmony of human kind. "Jazzmatazz" is an amazing modern day variation on the Brazillian funk sound of Duke's classic era. "Round The Way Girl" is a sexy,bluesy jazz/funk shuffle. "Brown Sneakers" brings the fusion element strongly back into his sound with some heavily dynamic rock/jazz instrumental interplay.
◊ "You'll Never Know" is a strongly melodic pop/soul salsa groove where Lady T delivers what George credits as her last recorded number on "Ball & Chain", delivering some classically cosmic lyricism with her always surprising and amazing vocal turns. The epic 15+ minute "Burnt Sausage Jam" (a very Frank Zappa type title) starts as a frantic fusion piece, before settling for most of the song into an easygoing Southern jazz/funk jam and ending on a breezier jazz style note. The album ends with a sweet funk/gospel take on the old Gene Autry country standard "Happy Trails", dedicated mainly of course to his departed wife. Overall this album is not only a significant improvement in terms of compositional vitality over his previous album, but may very well be his finest album of the millennium so far-with 2008's funkified Dukey Treats right behind it. This is the type of album George Duke made in the late 70's. Every single song on the album is consistently strong from start to finish. And he presents all the diversified musical styles in his arsenal to the great effect he always has-modernizing some elements of the instrumentation and production but always keeping his core composing and production style totally intact. Easily qualifies as one of the very best albums (and he has many of them) George Duke has created.
| By Howard Dukes
◊ George Duke suffered the kind of loss that stops people in their tracks. Duke’s wife Corine passed away in 2012. Sure enough, the loss caused Duke to stop doing what he does best – write produce and record music. But the hiatus didn’t last long. Duke regained his creative flow while on a cruise. Still, the death of his wife influenced some of the output on Duke’s latest record, Dreamweaver.
◊ For example, “Round the Way Girl” takes on a new meaning in the aftermath of the passing of Duke’s wife. The track begins with a chance encounter between Duke and a young lady. They exchange pleasantries and Duke compliments the woman on her looks and asks her not to be a stranger. She reminds him that he has her number. Duke realizes that life goes on, and that dating is a part of his new life. Still, he doesn’t seem comfortable with the prospect, and the cut has the sound of a man moving in a place where he does not want to go.
◊ Contrast “Round the Way Girl” with the version of the cowboy ballad “Happy Trails” that was made famous by Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. The song’s inclusion on a jazz/funk record sounds odd if not put in historical and contemporary context. Duke probably grew up watching Rogers and Evans television variety show and the movie westerns, so he’s familiar with the tune. The song’s lyrics combine with Duke’s soulful arrangement, endowing the tune with added poignancy in light of the losses that Duke sustained: “Happy trails to you/until we meet again/keep smilin’ until then/who cares about the clouds when we’re together/Just sing a song and bring the sunny weather/happy trails to until we meet again.” Duke ends the song with a free flowing verbal riff where he bids his wife adieu and wishes her happy trails. It’s one of those moments where the emotion on record is not manufactured.
◊ Dreamweaver is successful because Duke largely remains true to himself even as he takes the listener on a tour all of the musical styles that he mastered during his long career in music. Dreamweaver features the straight ahead acoustic jazz of “Storms of Orion,” and the fusion of neo-soul and jazz on the biographical “Trippin.” The album features one of the last recordings that Teena Marie made before she passed in 2010. That tune is titled “Ball and Chain,” and the listener will be left to wonder if Marie is singing about commitment or co-dependency. Her passionate vocal delivery makes a compelling case for either or both.
◊ With the exception of that touching allusion at the end of “Happy Trails,” Duke doesn’t mention his late wife. We don’t get hit over the head with the artist’s despair. However, Corine Duke is a constant presence and the driving force behind several tracks on Dreamweaver. “Missing You” is a piano driven ballad with an arrangement that might remind some of the 1992 hit “No Rhyme, No Reason.” The track could have be written prior to his wife’s death as Duke talks about sending an e-mail to a special someone in the wee hours of the morning. Yet, the tune’s lyrics remind the listener to find time to tell those we love how we feel.
◊ “You Never Know” is a cut where the artist dispenses lessons that only come through experience. The lyrics mark “You Never Know” as the song on the album that seems crafted as the fog of grief began to subside and Duke pondered what he could learn from this tragic event: “Cherish the good times/reflect on the bad/thought these things can make you oh so sad/There’s an old saying/no pain/no gain/I guess that is the name of the game/Embrace the cold/Go through the rain/Accept the things we cannot change/In the end we all must learn and grow/Life’s a test.”
◊ George Duke entered the music business in the late 1960s as a modern jazz musician. He played experimental rock with Frank Zappa and soulful jazz with Cannonball Adderly. Duke did jazz fusion in the 1970s before becoming a funk master. He produced some of the most memorable R&B songs of the 1980s. There have been two constants in Duke’s life during most of that time - the influence of jazz and the presence of his wife. Dreamweaver is an eloquent tribute to both. Recommended.
◊ George Duke Quartet Presented by the Jazz Workshop 1 1966 MPS, SABA
◊ The Jean-Luc Ponty Experience with the George Duke Trio 1969 Pacific Jazz
◊ Save the Country 2 1970 Pickwick
◊ Solus 3 1971 MPS, SABA
◊ The Inner Source (2-LP) 1971 MPS/BASF
◊ Faces in Reflection 1974 MPS/BASF
◊ Feel 1974 MPS/BASF
◊ The Aura Will Prevail 1974 MPS/BASF
◊ I Love the Blues, She Heard My Cry 1975 MPS/BASF
◊ Liberated Fantasies 1976 MPS/BASF
◊ The Billy Cobham – George Duke Band 'Live' on Tour in Europe 1976 Atlantic
◊ The Dream 4 1976 MPS/BASF
◊ From Me to You 1977 Epic/CBS
◊ Reach for It 1977 Epic/CBS
◊ Don't Let Go 1978 Epic/CBS
◊ Follow the Rainbow 1979 Epic/CBS
◊ Master of the Game 1979 Epic/CBS
◊ Brazilian Love Affair 1980 Epic/CBS
◊ Clarke/Duke Project 1981 Epic/CBS
◊ Dream On 1982 Epic/CBS
◊ Clarke/Duke Project 2 1983 Epic/CBS
◊ Guardian of the Light 1983 Epic/CBS
◊ Rendezvous 1984 Epic/CBS
◊ Thief in the Night 1985 Elektra
◊ George Duke 1986 Elektra
◊ Night After Night 1989 Elektra
◊ Clarke/Duke Project 3 1990 Epic/CBS
◊ Snapshot 1992 Warner Bros.
◊ Muir Woods Suite 5 1993 Warner Bros.
◊ Illusions 1995 Warner Bros.
◊ Is Love Enough 1997 Warner Bros.
◊ After Hours 1998 Warner Bros.
◊ Cool 2000 Warner Bros.
◊ Face the Music 2002 Bizarre Planet
◊ Duke 2005 Bizarre Planet
◊ In a Mellow Tone 2006 Bizarre Planet
◊ Dukey Treats 2008 Heads Up
◊ Déjà Vu 2010 Telarc Jazz
◊ Dreamweaver 2013 Universal Music
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|George Duke — DreamWeaver (2013)|