The late songbird travels down a new musical route on “Ball and Chain,” a song off Duke’s forthcoming release “Dream Weaver.” According to Duke the R&B icon embraced collaborating on a jazz track. So much so that Marie’s stamp is all over the tune.
“Before Teena Marie died, I was working on a jazz record with her. It was outside of her contract and we were gonna do a jazz record together in her own style,” Duke revealed to EUR’s Lee Bailey. “She was writing all the music. We got a chance to record one song before she passed. She was gonna redo it but you know Teena is the kind of lady that she just went for it. When she sang she doesn’t half do it. She went for it. She sounded great.”
“Ball and Chain,” greenlighted by Marie’s estate, arrives as a bonus cut on “Dream Weaver.” For Duke, the album’s title represents the power of musicians.
“The reason I decided to call it Dream Weaver is that’s what musicians are truly. They weave dreams,” the self-described dream weaver stated. “We can weave it in different ways. The ones that are most adept are the storytellers, the ones that weave deeper levels of thread in that fabric. It doesn’t mean it’s more complex. It just means that it can be the simplest thing. But there’s something about that that musicians can create something from nothing. If they’re real dream weavers they have a message in their music. It doesn’t mean that it always has to be heavy, but there has to be something there, somewhere in this project that’s gonna connect with the listener.”
Marie won’t be the only person weaving dreams with Duke. Lalah Hathaway as well as Howard Hewitt, BeBe Winans, Lori Perry and Freddy Jackson are all on aboard for “Dream Weaver.” While the offering will be filled with guests, the presence of Duke’s wife Corine will be felt.
Speaking on his late spouse, Duke mentioned “I Miss You,” a song originally written for Corine. Rachelle Ferrell, who provided vocals in place of Duke, performs the track.
“I actually couldn’t do it, the music veteran said about performing the tune himself. “So I changed the lyric to make it more normal…but for me it means something else.”
Like many dreams, an unpredictable element is found within “Dream Weaver.” Duke’s creation will harbor an eclectic mix of musical genres in what the entertainer described as “a gumbo.”
“It’s autobiographical in some respects. I talk about one song called “Trippin’” which I’m trippin’ on some memories about how I actually got in to music, but it’s in a musical context where I’m singing about,” said Duke, who reminisced over a memorable introduction to music. “When I lived in this house ,there was this guy that was bangin’ this girl next door. And the music was playin’ and I was 8-years-old but I heard the bass [makes a bass sound]. I’m like ‘man. I don’t hear that on the radio but this kind of interested me.’
“It’s probably Ray Charles or Les McCann or somebody I don’t know, but the music interested me. Between the screaming and yelling that this girl was doing in the bed after hours it’d wake me up. On the weekends, he would go out and hang out and come back from the club with some lady and the song is about that…It’s a true story,” Duke continued. “I asked my momma. I said ‘Is somebody hurt over there mama?’ And she said ‘No son. Nobody’s hurt…I decided to write a little thing about that. It’s light hearted but It’s a jazzy, kinda funky look at that.”
George Duke’s “Dream Weaver” is slated for release in June.
When we next visit with George Duke, he will candidly discuss the death of his dear wife, Corine.
For more on George Duke, and to see his appearance itinerary, visit: www.GeorgeDuke.com.