Monday, September 15, 2014
LOS ANGELES SENTINEL -- Born in San Rafael, Duke said he learned a lot about music by going to church. He played in high-school jazz groups and was heavily influenced by his idol, Miles Davis. He earned degrees in trombone, composition and contrabass from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and a Master’s degree in composition from San Francisco State University. He first won international acclaim on 1969’s “The Jean Luc-Ponty Experience with The George Duke Trio,” considered one of the first fusion jazz recordings. Duke also played with the Don Ellis Orchestra, Cannonball Adderly’s band and with jazz musician Stanley Clarke. Eager to strike out on his own, Duke became a solo artist in 1976 and released more than 30 albums.