George Duke


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With a several decade career as an artist and producer successfully spanning the realms of bebop, fusion, soul, and funk, nothing gives George Duke more pleasure than being able to go back to his basics as an acoustic jazz pianist on his smooth, multifaceted Warner Bros. debut, Snapshot. The keyboardist takes listeners on a whimsical, generally cool journey through the myriad styles he's purveyed over the years: Latin, pop, R&B, and live-in-the-studio jazz. Snapshot seems divided by Duke's pop sensibilities and these urges to simplify those electronic trappings. The grooving "History (I Remember)" and the breezy "Geneva" smooth out the rough edges perfectly, but it's the easy funk of the message tune, "Fame," which seems most inspired. A fiery acoustic piano run combines with Gary Grant/Jerry Hey horns for a perfect texturing of Duke's jazz and top pop hit-producing resumes. Tunes like the title track and "The Morning After" are fairly mundane, on the other hand, a little too generic in the quiet storm department, but, overall, Snapshot nicely reflects the state of Duke circa early '90s smooth jazz. Cut through the chaff and the remaining wheat here represents an artist pretty much doing what he does best: a little bit of everything in a mostly artistically satisfying manner.

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