George Duke – Reach For It (Full Album)

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By 1977, the jazz content of George Duke‘s albums had decreased considerably, and soul and funk had become his main priorities. Reach for It has more to offer from an R&B standpoint than a jazz standpoint, though the fusion it does contain is first rate — including the Latin-influenced “Hot Fire” and “Lemme at It” (an aggressive gem that’s in a class with some of the keyboardist/pianist’s best work with the Billy Cobham/Duke Band). Reach’s heavy R&B content resulted in Duke facing the same accusation as George Benson, Patrice Rushen and other improvisers who moved away from jazz in the ’70s — that he was a sellout. But none of this CD’s R&B content comes across as contrived or formulaic. In fact, Duke is downright inspired on the haunting “Just for You” and the Parliament-influenced title song. Even so, it’s always regrettable when a gifted improviser pretty much abandons jazz — and Duke is a prime example. It should be stressed that the high rating awarded this CD is primarily from an R&B standpoint — and that those strictly interested in hearing Duke playing jazz would be better off investing in earlier efforts like Faces in Reflection (AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson,https://goo.gl/zRsgK2).

Track listing:
1 The Beginning
2 Lemme At It 1:51
3 Hot Fire (Leon “Ndugu” Chancler) 6:04
4 Reach For It (Miller, Johnson, Duke, Chancler) 11:36
5 Just For You 16:30
6 Ómi (Fresh Water) 20:58
7 Searchin’ My Mind 25:48
8 Watch Out Baby! (Duke, Chancler, Sembello, Clarke) 29:00
9 Diamonds 34:25
10 The End 41:10
11 Bring It on Home 42.17

Personnel:

George Duke – keyboards, vocals
Charles Icarus Johnson – guitar, vocals
Leon “Ndugu” Chancler – drums, percussin, vocals
Manolo Badrena – percussion
Deborah Thomas, Dee Henrichs, Sybil Thomas – vocals
Stanley Clarke – bass 9 (track 8)
Mike Sembello – guitar (track 8)
Raul De Souza – trombone (track 6)
Ms. Brazilplex, Sister Glory Glow Fly – vocals (track 4)

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Released: 1977
Duration: 37:17
Recording Location:
Paramount Recording Studios, Los Angeles, CA

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