The legendary George Duke was the essence of music in more ways than one.  He was a jazz, funk, R&B singer/composer/producer and keyboard pioneer that blessed us with his magnificent talent for decades.

George Duke-youtube
George Duke-youtube

George Duke passed away yesterday (Aug. 5) at St. John's hospital in L.A.  He was 67.  So far there's been no word yet on cause of death or funeral arrangements.   After receiving word that the legendary musician passed, former Supremes singer Sherri Payne confirmed the news and wrote in a statement. "It was just one year earlier, July 18th, that his beloved wife and my friend, Corine, went to be with the Lord. Please keep his sons, Rasheed and John, in your prayers."

George Duke's career basically began in the late 60's and he pretty never stopped.  As a matter of fact in 2011, he put together a trio with David Sanborn and Marcus Miller for a tour across the US of more than 20 sold out shows.  Duke also worked with Jill Scott on her third studio album, The Real Thing: Words and Sounds Vol. 3 and is featured on the track, "Whenever You're Around".  Here's a look at the legend at work.  He's in the studio in 1978 creating his classic "Dukey Stick" with a very young Sheila E.

He was a music legend so it's no surprise that other artists found his music inspiring. Duke's multifaceted musicianship in jazz, funk, R&B and fusion aloud him to produce and compose for the likes of Miles Davis, Gladys Knight, Anita Baker and Johnny Gill, among many others.  His work has been sampled by Hip Hop's Kanye West (for Common's "Break My Heart" off Finding Forever), Ice Cube ("True to the Game"), MF Doom ("I Hear Voices," "Someday"), Spice 1 ("In My Neighborhood") and 9th Wonder (for NC rapper Kaze's "Spirit of '94") just to name a few. Yet, he still had time to create more than 30 of his own solo projects, including his most recent album, 'Dream Weaver', which was dedicated to his wife Corine, who died of cancer just last year.

By popular vote, George Duke was inducted into The Soul Music Hall Of Fame at in December 2012.  Thank you Mr. Duke for the music especially songs like "Reach for It" and "Dukey Stick"!  Our deepest condolences to his family and friends.