Artist: George Duke Title Of Album: Cool Year Of Release: 2000 Label: Warner Bros. Records Country: USA Genre: Jazz / Soul Quality: FLAC (image+ .cue, log, scans) Bitrate: Lossless Time: 01:06:32 Full Size: 397 MB
01. Marin City (5:20) 02. Wake Up, Smell the Coffee (4:42) 03. She's Amazing (4:43) 04. If You Will (5:03) 05. Never Be Another (4:37) 06. Ancient Source (6:00) 07. Only You Understand (4:17) 08. If He Ain't Right (Then He's Mr. Wrong) (5:30) 09. Sexy Cool (4:56) 10. All About You (3:48) 11. Whatever It Takes (3:43) 12. The Times We've Known (6:21) 13. At a Glance (7:15)
George Duke wears shades on the back cover and calls his latest recording Cool, but "Busy" and "Scattered" might better fit this wild potpourri of R&B, pop, jazz, gospel, and Brazilian sounds. It feels as if he's taking a stand against the unwritten modern music biz rule that homogeny sells records, as each tune genre hops gleefully, capturing yet another facet of the keyboardist-producer's spirited personality. He goes into a Curtis Mayfield falsetto to sing us his autobiography on the retro-soul-minded "Marin City," and returns to that voice on "Ancient Source," an ode to the music of Africa featuring exotic chants and offbeat percussion. Once we have the background, Duke plays comedic social observer ("Wake Up, Smell the Coffee"); corny, hopeless romantic ("She's Amazing," sung soulfully with Chante Moore); a traveler to the joyous part of Rio ("If You Will," which features Duke's Rhodes dancing over samba grooves, vocal choruses, and the solo voice of Flora Purim); spiritual leader (playing keys behind the gospel group Anointed on "Never Be Another"); and adviser to the lovelorn with stars in their eyes on "If He Ain't Mr. Right (Then He's Mr. Wrong)."
Some of the tunes are catchy and fun, but few measure up to his vast catalog. More effective is Duke's Quincy Jones-like flair for inviting too many musicians to the party and then making the most of each invitee. It's always been clear, however, that Duke is a far superior keyboardist than vocalist, and it's unfortunate that most of his best solos here come midway through vocals that don't always catch fire. Two of the all-instrumental pieces--especially the meandering ambient piece "At a Glance"--fall short, but the brassy, snappy "Whatever It Takes" keeps the focus where it should be, on his melodic playing. More of this would create the cool Duke aspired to. -- Jonathan Widran