NEW YORK (AP) — A representative says Grammy-winning jazz keyboardist and producer George Duke, whose sound infused acoustic jazz, electronic jazz, funk, R&B and soul, has died. He was 67.
The representative said Duke died Aug. 5 in Los Angeles. He was being treated for chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
During his 40-year-plus career, Duke appeared on a number of Frank Zappa’s albums and played in the Don Ellis Orchestra and Cannonball Adderley’s band. He played keyboard on Michael Jackson’s multiplatinum 1979 album, Off the Wall, and was a producer for Miles Davis, Smokey Robinson, Gladys Knight, Dionne Warwick and Natalie Cole.
He also released more than 30 solo albums. Duke began taking piano lessons when he was 4 years old, after seeing Duke Ellington perform.
“I don’t remember it too well … but my mother told me I went crazy,” Duke said on his website. “I ran around saying, ‘Get me a piano, get me a piano!’”
Duke’s son, Rashid, thanked his father’s fans in a statement. “The outpouring of love and support that we have received from my father’s friends, fans and the entire music community has been overwhelming,” he said.
Duke’s wife, Corine, died from cancer last year.
He was unable to make music for months, but he overcame his grief to create the album DreamWeaver, released last month. It features a fusion of sounds and a tribute to his late wife on the romantic piano-driven ballad Missing You.