Iconic jazz, funk and r&b artist George Duke passes away

Influential musician and producer George Duke has died in Los Angeles at the age of 67, following a battle with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.

Duke, who has been active in the worlds of jazz, funk and r&b since the mid-'60s, is best known as a keyboard and synthesiser player, but he was also a prolific record producer and recording artist in his own right.

Outside of the jazz circuit, Duke is probably more widely known via his production credits, collaborations and the contemporary artists who have sampled his music.

Throughout the '70s, Duke was a key member of Frank Zappa's recording and touring band The Mothers Of Invention. He also collaborated with the likes of Al Jarreau, Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderley and George Clinton to name but a few, and appeared on Michael Jackson's '79 album Off The Wall.

As a producer, Duke worked with a host of iconic pop and funk artists including Gladys Knight, Anita Baker and The Pointer Sisters. He also worked extensively in film and TV, composing, producing and arranging a vast list of film scores, original songs and TV themes.

In more recent years his work has been sampled heavily, probably most notably by Daft Punk, whose Digital Love is based around a loop lifted from Duke's 1979 track I Love You More. Samples of Duke's recordings have also been used by the likes of A Tribe Called Quest, Madlib, Common, MF Doom and Thundercat. It's worth scanning his WhoSampled entry to get an idea of how far his influence has spread.

Duke's most recent album, Dreamweaver, was released back in June and dedicated to his wife who died of cancer last year.

Back in January, Duke took part in a panel discussion on the history of MIDI, which MusicRadar and Future Music attended and you can watch below.

Si Truss

I'm Editor-in-Chief of Music Technology, working with Future Music, Computer Music, Electronic Musician and MusicRadar. I've been messing around with music tech in various forms for over two decades. I've also spent the last 10 years forgetting how to play guitar. Find me in the chillout room at raves complaining that it's past my bedtime.