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Talking with Playboy Jazz Festival artists George Duke and Gregory Porter

George Duke is a featured artist for the annual Playboy Jazz Festival.
George Duke is a featured artist for the annual Playboy Jazz Festival.
George Duke is a featured artist for the annual Playboy Jazz Festival.
Gregory Porter will be playing at the Playboy Jazz Festival in June.

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Update Aug. 6 11:15 a.m.: 

Grammy-winning jazz keyboardist and producer George Duke died on Monday, Aug. 5 in Los Angeles. His sound infused acoustic jazz, electronic jazz, funk, R&B, and soul. George Duke was being treated for chronic lymphocytic leukemia. He was 67.

Duke appeared on a number of Frank Zappa's albums, played keyboard for Michael Jackson, and was a producer for music legends like Miles Davis, Smokey Robinson, and Natalie Cole.  He also released more than 30 solo albums.

Earlier this year, AirTalk host Larry Mantle asked Duke what draws him to a project:

"For me, it's just the joy of music.  I mean, if a musician has the ability to play different styles of music, I don't see any reason they shouldn't be allowed to do that.  I think categorization is for people who want to sell the music," said Duke on AirTalk in May. "In terms of a musician, they should be allowed to play whatever they feel led to play, or sing, or whatever.  So, I used to consider myself what I call a multi-stylistic artist.  What leads me that way?  The joy and love of music."


Every year, the annual Playboy Jazz Festival takes over the Hollywood Bowl for two full days of jazz greats, both young and old. Now in it’s 35th year, the festival has become a fixture on the jazz scene, and this year’s lineup, including Sheila E. and Herbie Hancock, is as eclectic as the modern scene itself.

Gregory Porter is a great example of the new generation of jazz. The smooth-crooning vocalist has been a sensation since the release of his 2010 album “Water,” which won a Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal album in 2011.

On the other end of that spectrum is living legend, George Duke. A keyboardist by trade, in his 40-plus-year career, Duke has worked in just about facet of music, from soloist to music director. He’s played with Zappa and been sampled by Kanye, and his view of the genre of jazz is as open as his music. Porter and Duke are featured artists in this year’s Playboy Jazz Festival.

The pair of jazz greats join Larry on AirTalk to talk about their long careers in music and the state of jazz in America. 


George Duke, jazz musician

Gregory Porter, jazz musician