George Duke of the Mothers of Invention Dies
Keyboard pioneer George Duke, whose long list of credits included a lengthy stint with Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, has reportedly passed away at the age of 67.
Although details are scarce, news of Duke’s passing comes from the Electronic Urban Report via former Supremes member Scherrie Payne, who wrote, “I just received the devastating and sad news that the great musician, George Duke, passed away this evening at St. John’s hospital in L.A.”
EUR notes that Duke’s most recent solo release, ‘Dreamweaver,’ arrived in stores just last month and that it was written and recorded as a tribute to his late wife, who succumbed to cancer last year.
Duke started making a name for himself in the late ’60s, a fertile creative period in which he played alongside a number of talented artists (including Jean-Luc Ponty and Cannonball Adderly) before joining up with Zappa for a series of albums that included ‘Chunga’s Revenge,’ ‘200 Motels’ and ‘Apostrophe.’ Far from just a sideman, Duke was also an extraordinarily prolific recording artist in his own right, releasing more than 30 solo albums and serving as a producer and musical director for a long list of acts and events.
Duke is survived by his sons, Rasheed and John.