George Duke, the legendary jazz keyboardist whose work had a huge influence on funk and R&B, passed away last night after a battle with leukemia, according to reports from NPR. He was 67 years old.
Duke grew up a trained musician; he received a degree in trombone and composition from the San Francisco Conservatory in 1967. From there, Duke began working as a session musician, which expanded his musical repertoire beyond traditional jazz and into the then-developing genre of jazz fusion. Through the course of his long career, Duke played with the likes of Miles Davis, Frank Zappa, Anita Baker, and George Clinton.
Duke was also an accomplished solo artist who recorded over 30 albums by himself and with his band, the George Duke Trio. His last album, Dreamweaver, came out earlier this year.