George Duke Band plays Zappa

For as long as I’ve been a fan of Frank Zappa‘s music, I’ve also been a fan of the music of George Duke. Indeed, both musicians have taken me on musical trips I could never have imagined going on.

It’s really no wonder I continue to return to their albums again and again, and am overjoyed when something is released by either of them. I’m even more overjoyed when the above clip of the George Duke Band performing “Cosmik Debis” and “Uncle Remus” at Jazz Club Minden in Germany on August 5th, 2010, surfaces on YouTube. Combine that with the clip below of “Everyday Hero” from Dukey Treats, and it’s enough to send a Zappa/Duke fan such as myself into a state of musical euphoria. Yeah, that’s the spot. Ain’t it funky now…

The George Duke Band:

George Duke – keyboard, piano, vocal
Andrew Papastephanou – keyboard
Jef Lee Johnson – guitar

Michael Manson – bass

Gordon Campbell – drums

Lamont Vanhook – vocal

Shannon Pearson – vocal

17 Responses to “George Duke Band plays Zappa”

  1. jonnybutter2 says:

    Thanks UG. I enjoyed this. I love GD too. I’m a pianist/keyboardist, and Mr Duke has always been an inspiration to me.

  2. Harry Barris says:

    What’s with that heavy-handed “bashing” style drummer who plays with no subtlety nor ‘swing’ nor ‘jazziness’ (being able to play a little behind or in front of the beat): oh that’s right–all the drummers of today play like that. Whatever happened to the subtle use of the hi-hat for accents?

    Must be the current emphasis on heavy-footed bass drum pounding and having to match up to non-wavering click tracks.

    Jazz might not be dead (??) but ‘elastic’ jazz-influenced drumming ability certainly is. Awful playing–with those painful harsh cymbal crashes too.

  3. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from jonnybutter2:

    Thanks UG. I enjoyed this. I love GD too. I’m a pianist/keyboardist, and Mr Duke has always been an inspiration to me.

    Yes, GD is an inspiration to multiple generations, jonnybutter2. I smile every time I encounter my son listening to Faces In Reflection (his favorite GD album). A week doesn’t pass without my listening to any one of Duke’s albums (Face the Music, The Aura Will Prevail, Feel, and I love the blues, she heard my cry… among my favorites) or the The Billy Cobham/George Duke Band.

    I know how you feel, Harry Barris. After being treated to the absolute giants of drumming and percussion (Billy Cobham, Arthur Tripp, Terry Bozzio, Chester Thompson, Ralph Humphrey, Ruth Underwood), today’s drummers and percussionists seem to lack the control and the subtlety of these classic drummers. Though I think this may have a lot to do with the heavy touring schedule Zappa’s drummers and percussionists endured (which allowed them to hear and develop their individual styles), and today’s drummers and percussionists do not have the same type of road education.

  4. Jamez says:

    I heard of George Duke and Napoleon Murphy Brock BEFORE I heard Zappa’s music, by listening to albums such as ‘Don’t Let Go’ (also featuring Sheila E). I still love Duke’s music today.

  5. Slap says:

    A quote from urbangraffito:

    I know how you feel, Harry Barris. After being treated to the absolute giants of drumming and percussion (Billy Cobham, Arthur Tripp, Terry Bozzio, Chester Thompson, Ralph Humphrey, Ruth Underwood), today’s drummers and percussionists seem to lack the control and the subtlety of these classic drummers. Though I think this may have a lot to do with the heavy touring schedule Zappa’s drummers and percussionists endured (which allowed them to hear and develop their individual styles), and today’s drummers and percussionists do not have the same type of road education.

    I kinda think it’s the times that are a changin’. Not pleased to make that observation, mind you….but here’s a bit of perspective: when the Beatles broke, one of the many things that drew notice was that Ringo (gasp) didn’t use the “jazz grip”!

    Add to that the general, gradual disappearance of real acoustic jazz from any really visible place in today’s music scene.

    Oddly, it seems to me that drummers for “jam” bands come closest to keeping that jazz spirit and swing alive — maybe it’s the improv framework?

    I’ve been fortunate to have seen some fine ones, as well — Tony Williams, Prairie Prince, Dave Mattacks, Roy “Futureman” Wooten, Bill Bruford, Joe Princiotto, Barrett Martin….It’s sad to contemplate, but I sometimes believe that the Art Blakeys and Elvin Jones types are long gone.

  6. jonnybutter says:

    I’d also just add here that we don’t really have a great idea how this drummer is since the recording is so ad hoc. I mean, it sounds like a phone camera or something. He might be better than it sounds on this recording. And there is no way a more traditional jazz drummer could compete, volume wise, with an all electric (i.e. loud) band. Just sayin’.

  7. Phil J says:

    What about Vinne C.? he’s still playing and boy can he play!

  8. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from Phil J:

    What about Vinne C.? he’s still playing and boy can he play!

    I sort of knew when I mentioned the drummers and percussionists that I did (just as a tiny example, mind you) I’d be opening a giant can of worms (I like doing that here at KUR, though, opening up giant cans of worms). It’s really quite amazing how many favourite drummers people have got. Sorry for not mentioning Vinnie Colaiuta, Phil. Don’t know what came over me. Ten slaps on my knuckles with a short yardstick!

  9. Phil J says:

    Sorry Urban buddy, Im not a drummer, but over time Im slowly begining to recognise all of zappas drummers over time, and vinnie hes amazing!

  10. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from Phil J:

    Sorry Urban buddy, Im not a drummer, but over time Im slowly begining to recognise all of zappas drummers over time, and vinnie hes amazing!

    You needn’t be a drummer or percussionist, Phil J, to appreciate the marvelous artistry and craft of any of Zappa’s drummers/percussionists. From the time I was a wee little freak, I can recall tapping out with my fingertips the beat to The Black Page drum solo from sheer memory. I’m sure this is a common practice among Zappa freaks.

  11. brandon35 says:

    Just figured I’d share this, didn’t know where else to do it…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nzbr6AJaA_0

  12. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from brandon35:

    Just figured I’d share this, didn’t know where else to do it…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nzbr6AJaA_0

    Thanks for sharing this, brandon35. In future, though, contact us via the email at the bottom of this page so we can give it the separate post it deserves.

  13. brandon35 says:

    A quote from brandon35:

    A quote from brandon35:

    Just figured I’d share this, didn’t know where else to do it…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nzbr6AJaA_0

    Thanks for sharing this, brandon35. In future, though, contact us via the email at the bottom of this page so we can give it the separate post it deserves.

    Awesome, will do! Will it still get it’s own post? :D

  14. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from brandon35:

    A quote from urbangraffito:

    A quote from brandon35:

    Just figured I’d share this, didn’t know where else to do it…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nzbr6AJaA_0

    Thanks for sharing this, brandon35. In future, though, contact us via the email at the bottom of this page so we can give it the separate post it deserves.

    Awesome, will do! Will it still get it’s own post? :D

    Indeed, brandon35. Please include in your email all relevant information, links, participants, school, etc., and we’d be glad to give it it’s own post here at KUR.

  15. Balint says:

    Now reading/listenning to this again, I’ve just remembered an interview of an FZ-alumni (I can’t remember who, maybe from around ’81?), where he says, that on a pre-tour rehearsal FZ suddenly asked them to learn everything reggae style. And after a week of a fight with it, he finally said: “No, this reggae-thing will not be…” So they went back to the original way.

    Does anyone remember this? When and with whom happened? DID it happen at all? :-) Thanks!

  16. Tjodolf says:

    I saw something like that in The Real Frank Zappa Book, he had hand signals to tell the band what style to play in; Reggae and Devo-style were two of them. The group was supposed to be able to shift between styles at the drop of a hat. But playing a section of one song in reggae style and playing the whole tour in reggae style are two different things, so Balints story passes the smell test, I’d say!

  17. Thinman says:

    I think this comes from Arthur Barrow when he was the Clonemeister. He still was Clonemeister for the ’81/’82 tours though not in the band anymore – if I am not wrong.

    Th.

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