Jazz, Crossover Jazz, Jazz-Pop, Funk

Album Review

By 1977, the jazz content of George Duke's albums had decreased considerably, and soul and funk had become his main priorities. Reach for It has more to offer from an R&B standpoint than a jazz standpoint, though the fusion it does contain is first rate -- including the Latin-influenced "Hot Fire" and "Lemme at It" (an aggressive gem that's in a class with some of the keyboardist/pianist's best work with the Billy Cobham/Duke Band). Reach's heavy R&B content resulted in Duke facing the same accusation as George Benson, Patrice Rushen and other improvisers who moved away from jazz in the '70s -- that he was a sellout. But none of this CD's R&B content comes across as contrived or formulaic. In fact, Duke is downright inspired on the haunting "Just for You" and the Parliament-influenced title song. Even so, it's always regrettable when a gifted improviser pretty much abandons jazz -- and Duke is a prime example. It should be stressed that the high rating awarded this CD is primarily from an R&B standpoint -- and that those strictly interested in hearing Duke playing jazz would be better off investing in earlier efforts like Faces in Reflection.
Alex Henderson, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. The Beginning
  2. Lemme at It
  3. Hot Fire
  4. Reach for It
  5. Just for You
  6. Omi [Fresh Water]
  7. Searchin' My Mind
  8. Watch out Baby!
  9. Diamonds
  10. The End
  11. Bring It on Home [#][*]
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