George Duke, ZPZ, Gail: News

1st: George Duke will be joining ZPZ in Los Angeles, I think on the 4th of december. Possibly in the Aposrophe tunes. Hey hey.

2nd: Gail Zappa answers 50 questions before Christmas. Follow the link – and ask!

3rd: Here’s an interesting solo by Mathias Eklund with the ZPZ in Gothenburg (from Dark Clothes). Fun. To me.

That’s all for today, folks.

Sunday Big Note – Listening Session #1

Over the last few weeks and months, fellow KUR-Meisters, while compiling the various mixtapes for Kill Ugly Radio, I had an idea for an ongoing weekly “listening session” of various artists and groups, both Zappa-related along with his contemporaries, as well as others, from various field recordings, FM radio broadcasts, and internet webcasts.

I brought the idea to Barry who also shared my enthusiasm for a weekly “listening session” and he gave the project an enthusiatic green light. Anyone who knows me, knows that I have a near rabid love of recorded live music, so it can pretty much be guaranteed that my contributions to the “Sunday Big Note” listening sessions will be of the “live music” variety. What the other SBN contributors will contribute, though, will be as much a surprise to me as it is to you.

Without further ado, for your listening pleasure, I present The Billy Cobham/George Duke Band at McAlister Auditorium, New Orleans, Louisiana, on February 18th, 1976:

Continue reading “Sunday Big Note – Listening Session #1”

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.
Continue reading “George Duke Band plays Zappa”

Jazz Ain’t Dead — Duke/Cobham

In the above clip, from Dutch TV in 2003, George Duke and friends perform “Brazilian Love Affair”, with a closing part of “Echidna’s Arf”.

George Duke (piano/vocals)
Lori Perry (vocals)
Robert Brookings (keyboards)
Ray Fuller (guitar)
Mike Manson (bass)
Gordon Campbell (drums)

In the second clip, the Billy Cobham/George Duke Band perform Cobham’s “Stratus” at the 1998 Montreux Jazz Festival.

Billy Cobham (drums)
George Duke (keyboards)
Carl Orr (guitar)
Stefan Rademacher (bass)

While missing the original flavor of Alphonso Johnson on bass, and John Scofield on guitar, both Orr and Rademacher rise up to the challenge left by their predecessors.

George Duke Interview @ Wolfgang’s Vault

By the time this interview was recorded in 1978, Duke had recorded and toured with Jean-Luc Ponty, Frank Zappa, Cannonball Adderly, Stanley Clarke, and Billy Cobham — covering jazz, rock, and everything on the spectrum in between before heading in a more straightforward funk direction with 1977’s Reach For It and its 1978 follow-up Don’t Let Go. Duke openly admits in this interview of trying to avoid being pigeonholed in any specific genre, and has a lot to say about the state of music in the late 1970s. Indeed, his views are as relevant today as when they were first recorded.

Click here to hear the whole interview.


‘Whatever happened to Shuggie Otis?’ is the only unanswered question in this interview. As you know, Shuggie Otis played Bass on Frank Zappa’s song “Peaches En Regalia”, from his “Hot Rats” Album.

George Duke at Wolfgang’s Vault

Recorded for the King Biscuit Flower Hour, Live at the Bottom Line (New York, NY) April 21, 1977, when George Duke was promoting his first Epic solo album, Reach For It, this show incorporated female vocalists, and had a decidedly high energy, Latin-funk groove. Unfortunately, most of the songs are incomplete as they were pulled from a series of outtake reels for the radio show; still the concert is well worth the listen.

Click here to hear the entire show.

The George Duke Band:

George Duke – keyboards, vocals
Manolo Badrena – percussion, bongos, conga
Leon “Ndugu” Chancler – drums, timbales
Dee Henrichs – vocals
Charles “Icarus” Johnson – guitar, vocals
Byron Miller – bass, keyboards
Deborah Thomas – vocals
Sybil Thomas – vocals

George Duke — My Soul (4CD-Box Set)

Just received my 4CD-compilation box set of George Duke jazz fusion from Promising Music: My Soul — The Complete MPS Fusion Recordings. This compilation includes the original MPS albums “Faces In Reflection”, “Feel”, “The Aura Will Prevail”, “I Love The Blues, She Heard My Cry” and “Liberated Fantasies”…plus the two recordings “The Inner Source” and “Solus”, that could originally be found on a double vinyl album set entitled “The Inner Source”.

Track list:

CD 1
1. Au Right 3:23
2. Love Reborn 7:21
3. Peace 7:29
4. So There You Go 5:11
5. The Followers 5:13
6. Solus 9:00
7. Nigerian Numberuma 2:45
8. My Soul 4:39
9. The Inner Source 6:10
10. Life 5:44
11. Sometime Ago 5:07
12. Feels So Good 6:57
13. Manya 3:33
CD 2
1. Sweet Bite 3:29
2. Twenty-Five 4:57
3. Always Constant 6:49
4. The Opening 3:19
5. Capricorn 5:07
6. Piano Solo No.1 1:16
7. Piano Solo No.2 1:07
8. Psychocomatic Dung 5:04
9. Faces In Reflection No.1 3:41
10. Maria Tres Filhos 5:09
11. North Beach 6:19
12. Da Somba 6:18
13. Faces In Reflection No.2 2:23
14. Funny Funk 5:18
15. Love 6:05
16. The Once Over 4:43
CD 3
1. Feel 5:38
2. Cora Jobege 2:47
3. Old Slippers 5:37
4. Theme From The Opera “Tzina” 2:01
5. Yana Aminah 4:34
6. Rashid 3:36
7. Statement 1:16
8. Chariot 2:59
9. Look Into Her Eyes 3:24
10. Sister Serene 4:33
11. That’s What She Said 4:29
12. Mashavu 1:48
13. Rokkinrowl, I Don’t Know 3:25
14. Prepare Yourself 5:26
15. Giant Child Within Us – Ego 6:37
16. Someday 2:41
17. I Love The Blues, She Heard My Cry 5:26
CD 4
1. Dawn 4:57
2. For Love (I Come Your Friend) 4:41
3. Foosh 3:11
4. Floop De Loop 6:46
5. Malibu 4:06
6. Fools 4:35
7. Echidna’s Arf 3:35
8. Uncle Remus 5:11
9. The Aura 1:26
10. Don’t Be Shy 3:00
11. Seeing You 4:32
12. Back To Where We Never Left 6:27
13. What The… 0:33
14. Tryin’ & Cryin’ 5:47
15. I C’n Hear That 5:18
16. After The Love 2:32
17. Tzina 2:32
18. Liberated Fantasies 9:22

While the packaging is certainly a no frills affair (4 discs inside one fold-out hard plastic case, which includes a booklet of liner notes outlining all the various musicians involved in the recording of each song on each one of the albums), the remastered sound of these tracks is absolutely outstanding. Compared to the only other compilation which had been available on the market before now, Three Originals, there simply is no comparison. An absolute must have for any 70s jazz fusion fans.

Update from Promising Music Infodesk — Monday, July 7th, 2008:

a) The George Duke — My Soul (4CD Box Set) is not a Promising Music release, but done by Universal Germany (hence the “standard packaging”). We just included it as a “service title” in our web shop.

b) Universal Germany raised prices (they call it “adjust”) on their box sets, so it’s no longer at 25plus Euros, but 30sth Euros for non-EU fellows (inside EU VAT has to be added, making it 36 flat) by now.

Keep it up!
Your promising music team

Sugar Cane’s Got The Blues — I Don’t!!!

The two CDs I ordered from the German label, Promising Music, on April 20th, arrived this afternoon. Talk about speedy delivery. I was expecting 4 to 6 weeks. I was pleasantly surprised to say the least.

To start, everything they say about their reissues is correct: the CD packaging does resemble the gatefold albums of the era, right down to the grooves in the CD, and the vinyl record sleeve itself. Even the liner notes have been recreated and translated from the original German into English for us uni-lingual folks. In the final analysis, though, it’s not what they look like that matters, but how they sound.

Promising Music explains their re-mastering philosophy as such:

Restauration of the basic material as close to the original as possible. We give the integrity of the original sound top priority. By that we rather turn down an extreme reduction of tape noises (e.g. we feel, in case of doubt, leftovers of tape hiss less disturbing than a limitation of the sound transparency), and we edit the acoustic patterns carefully on the basis of original aesthetics (i.e. no “pseudo stereo” sound, no artificial reverbs, no additional compression, no superimposed “modern” sound scapes).

We remastered the original MPS master tapes digitally on a 24bit/88,2kHz level. By this we feel to reach, in comparison to a sampling rate of 96kHz, a more transparent and smooth sound, as the down sampling to the regular 44,1kHz Compact Disc standard runs much more plain and straight.

By this we produce pristine, true-to-original listening pleasure of these precious recordings at highest possible quality — not high tech sterility.

While neither are vinyl records, I use the same test with these CDs as I do with all the vinyl records I purchase: do they possess a deep, warm enveloping sound as opposed to a sound which is harder and more artificial?

Both CDs are excellent remasterings of these early MPS titles. While, admittedly, this was my first listen to Don ‘Sugarcane’ HarrisSugar Cane’s Got the Blues, the electrifying performances recorded at Berlin’s Philharmonic Hall from November, 1971, were rendered richly and vibrantly. I have heard digital copies of vinyl rips of George Duke’s Faces In Reflection, though, and this CD blows those mp3s out of the water. It’s like listening to a brand new album (which it is, in many respects). A joy in any language.