Multi-Grammy Winner Al Jarreau has a fantastic new release out, My Old Friend: Celebrating George Duke, featuring guests Gerald Albright, Stanley Clarke, Dr. John, Lalah Hathaway, Boney James, Marcus Miller, Jeffrey Osborne, Kelly Price, and Dianne Reeves, honoring the life and music of his good friend, the celebrated keyboardist, composer, and producer George Duke, on the Concord Music Group label.
Al Jarreau - My Old Friend: Celebrating George Duke
Al Jarreau - My Old Friend: Celebrating George Duke: My Old Friend featuring Gerald Albright, Someday written by George Duke and featuring Dianne Reeves, Churchyheart (Backyard Ritual) music by George Duke, lyrics by Al Jarreau featuring Marcus Miller, SomeBossa (Summer Breezin') music by George Duke, lyrics by George Duke, Al Jarreau, and Patrick Lundquist featuring Gerald Albright, Sweet Baby written by George Duke featuring Lalah Hathaway, Every Reason To Smile/Wings Of Love (Every Reason To Smile written by George Duke and Stanley Clarke/Wings Of Love written by Jeffrey Osborne and Peter Schless featuring Jeffrey Osborne, No Rhyme, No Reason written by George Duke featuring Kelly Price, Bring Me Joy written by George Duke featuring George Duke and Boney James, Brazilian Love Affair/Up From The Sea It Arose And Ate Rio In One Swift Bite written by George Duke featuring Dianne Reeves, You Touch My Brain written by George Duke featuring Dr. John
Al Jarreau - My Old Friend: Celebrating George Duke Personnel: Al Jarreau - Primary Artist, Vocals, Alex Al - Bass, Gerald Albright - Featured Artist Saxophone, Rob Bacon - Guitar, John Beasley - Keyboards, Boney James - Featured Artist Tenor Sax, Lenny Castro - Percussion, Stanley Clarke - Bass, Background Vocals, Porcha Clay - Background Vocals, Brandon Coleman Key - Bass, Keyboards, Mike Cottone - Trumpet, Dr. John - Featured Artist, George Duke - Featured Artist, Keyboards, Lalah Hathaway - Featured Artist, Paul Jackson, Jr. - Guitar, Jubu - Guitar, Patrick Lundquist - Background Vocals, Fred Martin - Background Vocals, Marcus Miller - Featured Artist Bass, Bass Clarinet, Jeffrey Osborne - Featured Artist, Background Vocals, Greg Phillinganes - Keyboards, Piano, Kelly Price - Featured Artist, Vocals, Dianne Reeves - Featured Artist, Vocals , John "J.R." Robinson - Drums, Patrice Rushen - Keyboards, Piano, Katriz Trinidad - Background Vocals, Omari Williams - Drums
Al Jarreau - My Old Friend: Celebrating George Duke was produced by John Burke, Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller, and Boney James on the Concord Music Group label.
Al Jarreau set the bar for achievement early on in his career to become a powerhouse in the world of Jazz. He also had the good fortune of meeting Jazz musician George Duke (1946 - 2013) in 1965, worked with him, and called him friend until George's death on August 5, 2013.
Throughout Al's career he has racked up many awards including multiple Grammy® Awards: Best Jazz Vocal Performance Look To The Rainbow (1977 album), Best Jazz Vocal Performance - All Fly Home (1978 album), Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male - Blue Rondo A La Turk (1981 single), Best Jazz Vocal Performance - Breakin' Away (1981 album), Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male, Heaven and Earth (1992 album), Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for God Bless The Child with George Benson featuring Jill Scott" - Givin' It Up (2007 album), and Best Pop Instrumental for Mornin' with George Benson - Givin' It Up (2007 album).
His latest release, Al Jarreau - My Old Friend: Celebrating George Duke is a memorable tribute to the artistry of George Duke. In the liner notes, Al Jarreau writes, "Dear George, My Old Friend is my first installment of Thank Yous to you. It is surely not complete, but it's a pretty good start for now. I called on some of our friends to pitch in and help make some musical smiles. Wow, George, I thank you so deeply and sincerely for this wonderfully unbelievable occasion of doing your music. I've never had more fun. A little scary, too, George ... you ain't just whistling Dixie. Anyways, all of us, everybody who helped out and played, really did feel your spirit in these selections, and we hope to make smile."
The 10-track release crosses genres easily from Jazz to Funk to Pop, and ties it all together neatly with a shiny red ribbon. It opens with the title song, My Old Friend, written by John Lang, Steve George, and Richard Page and sets the stage to take the listener on a musical retrospective of a few of the many highlights of George Duke's award-winning career as a musician, composer, and producer.
Beautifully produced, it is a stunning release that benefits not only from the music of George Duke but also from the talented ensemble of musicians and vocalists who contribute to each of the songs. The all-star ensemble includes George Duke's cousin Grammy® winner vocalist Dianne Reeves, Grammy® winner Jazz bassist Marcus Miller, Grammy® winner vocalist Lalah Hathaway, and Grammy® winner Dr. John, to name but a few of the many talents who contribute to make this a memorable release.
Select cuts on the musical journey through time of George Duke's impressive career include the songs Someday (1975), Sweet Baby (1981 off The Clarke/Duke Project), Every Reason To Smile/Wings Of Love, Backyard Ritual (1986), No Rhyme, No Reason (1992), and Bring Me Joy (2010).
Two of my favorite tracks on the release are SomeBossa (Summer Breezin'), which has a captivating bossa nova Brazilian beat that just feels so right, light and shimmering like a beautiful summer night; and Al keeps the Brazilian groove going with George Duke's Brazilian Love Affair (1980)/Up From The Sea It Arose And Ate Rio In One Swift Bite featuring the vocals of Al Jarreau and Dianne Reeves, background vocals of Porcha Clay, Patrick Lundquist, Fred Martin, and Katriz Trinidad, with Stanley Clarke on bass, Lenny Castro on percussion, Patrice Rushen on keyboards, Paul Jackson, Jr. on guitar, and John "J.R" Robinson on drums. The release closes with the song, You Touch My Brain, which is aptly fitting, as George Duke clearly touched the brains (and hearts) of many throughout his life.
For information on Al Jarreau - My Old Friend: Celebrating George Duke as well as information on upcoming world tour dates, please visit the website: www.AlJarreau.com.
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Websites where you can procure Al Jarreau - My Old Friend: Celebrating George Duke: Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and cdUniverse.com.
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