Atlanta Musician and Producer Reflects on Death of George Duke | WABE 90.1 FM

Atlanta Musician and Producer Reflects on Death of George Duke

Aug 6, 2013

Phil Davis says George Duke did it all as a keyboard pioneer, composer, singer and producer.
Credit WABE 90.1 FM

Legendary musician and producer George Duke has died.

Reports say the 67-year-old Duke passed away Monday night.

He was in a Los Angeles hospital being treated for a form of leukemia.

Atlanta was always on the tour list for George Duke, including most recently playing at Cobb Energy Center in April.

What happens when you meet the person that encompasses everything you want to do?

For Phil Davis it meant the world.

“It was 1991 when I first met him and I had just graduated from college, it was at the Montreux Jazz Festival.”

Then Davis was a member of the Clark Atlanta Jazz Orchestra.

He recalls sitting up on a rooftop and spotting jazz singer Rachelle Ferrell and George Duke.

“So they’re working down the street and I’m sitting up here and I had an epiphany and I said the next time I come to Montreaux, I want to play for them.”

Davis’ vision wasn’t too far off.

He would end up working with the man that’s worked everyone from Quincy Jones to Barry Manilow to Michael Jackson.

“I was on the road with him extensively between 2005 and 2007 with the Clarke Duke Project, and he was able to play some many styles during a short amount of time.”

Phil Davis talks about his mentor's influence:

Davis says his favorite George Duke offering is the 1992 album Snapshot.

“I hadn’t heard anybody at that point with his use of synthesizers and how he used them along with acoustic instruments and how he used all of them at the same time and none of the instruments got in each other’s way.”

Davis calls the entire album brilliant.

In June of this year, George Duke talked about his wife Corine who passed away last year from cancer.

In an interview with the Electronic Urban Report, Duke said, “I’m ok now, death is part of life and you got to move on.”  “You’ve got to learn to compartmentalize but I have my moments.”

Phil Davis will have his moments too regarding his friend and mentor, George Duke.

“I just downloaded the newest record which I haven’t even been able to listen to today. I’m not sure if I’m even going to try and listen to it today.”