Saturday, October 23, 2010

George Duke - A Brazilian Love Affair (1979)

A keyboardist and occasional vocalist who made his name throughout the 60's and 70's working with such figures as Frank Zappa and Jean-Luc Ponty, George Duke has quite a bit of fantastic solo material from that same time frame; he continued to record new music onwards into the 80's and even into 2010. Within the early part of his discography many highlights emerge, but you'll be hard pressed to find an album that does quite-so-many things right in it as 1979's A Brazilian Love Affair.

Brazen and joyful even in it's quieter moments, the title is indeed suggestive of what you'll find within: breezy, soulful jazzyiness set at a variety of tempos and animated into being through an assortment of interesting compositional ideas, with a particular emphasis on the contrast of traditional acoustic instrumentation played against Duke lighter-than-air keyboard arrangements and whatever other elements he wants to play with.

But, again, this is not a jazz album in the uniform sense. George's soulful delivery, as well as some of the impressive voices of the other singers on this punchy little recording, tie into things prominently on key tracks [the gorgeous 'Summer Breezin' and opening masterstroke of a title piece] and bring timbre and texture to these pleasant proceedings so that they never become too aimless or lightweight. The Brazilian samba elements may throw off those of you who prefer more traditional jazz-fusion, but without them this wouldn't be nearly as fun an album otherwise. 

Summer is past us and we're heading into darker times, but George Duke doesn't give a fuck: he'll lighten your mind and slaughter your stress before you even hear it coming. Enjoy!

Listen Here - "Brazilian Love Affair"

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