There are no words to express my sorror — to family and friends — for the loss of one great man, Mr. George Duke.  George, a friend of mine of more than 20 years, passed on to glory last week.  Knowing him as I did, I can say this with strength of character — George Duke has been 'promoted.'  Gone on, to a better place.
I remember George's kindness to me dating back more than 20 years.  I remember him hosting me at his home, when I was no one but a young man with a dream.  I remember him caring not about my station in life, and caring most about my potential. I remember George Duke, caring about me.
Born in 1946 in San Rafael, Calif., the natural-born talent grew up listening to gospel music and first stepped behind a piano as a young boy after his mother took him to see Duke Ellington. In the ‘60s, Duke backed jazz musicians such as Sonny Rollins and Dexter Gordon which eventually led to partnerships with Jean-Luc Ponty and Frank Zappa.

Duke’s career, which spanned more than five decades, constantly pushed the limits to what was expected in any specific genre and has been noted as working with greats such as Miles Davis, Michael Jackson, George Clinton, Gladys Knight and others.

My heart specifically goes out to my friends Quincy Jones and Howard Hewett, who know George Duke extremely well.  I will forever be indepted to and for my friendship with this great man.  I will be at his services in spirit, next week.

*According to a press release from, memorial services for the late George Duke will stream live on the site on Monday, August 19 at 5pm Eastern / 2pm Pacific.

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