George Duke

The Aura Will Prevail

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In 1975, George Duke was dabbling in R&B vocals. But instrumental jazz-fusion was still his primary focus, and he had yet to be played extensively on any of the genres' stations. When The Aura Will Prevail came out that year, no one bought the LP for its occasional R&B vocal -- the main attraction was Duke's keyboard playing. "Fools" is a melancholy soul ballad that finds him singing lead and predicts what was to come on R&B-oriented releases like Don't Let Go (1978) and Master of the Game (1979), but it isn't typical of the album on the whole. This is a fusion effort first and foremost, and Duke has plenty of room to stretch out and improvise on instrumentals that range from the insistent "Floop de Loop" to the Brazilian-influenced "Malibu" (which shouldn't be confused with the Hole/Courtney Love gem). Two of the songs were written or co-written by Frank Zappa: the fusion instrumental "Echidna's Arf" and the gospel-minded soul item "Uncle Remus" (another tune that gives Duke a chance to sing lead). Without question, The Aura Will Prevail is among this artist's finest fusion-oriented albums.