12 January 1946, San Rafael, California, USA. Duke studied the piano at school (where he ran a Les McCann -inspired Latin band) and emerged from the San Francisco Conservatory as a Bachelor of Music in 1967. From 1965-67 he was resident pianist at the Half Note, accompanying musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie and Kenny Dorham. This grounding served as a musical education for the rest of his life. He arranged for a vocal group, the Third Wave, and toured Mexico in 1968. In 1969, he began playing with French violinist Jean-Luc Ponty, using electric piano to accompany Pontys electric violin. He played on King Kong, an album of music Frank Zappa composed for Ponty. He then joined Zappas group in 1970, an experience that transformed his music. As he put it, previously he had been too musically advanced to play rock n roll piano triplets. Zappa encouraged him to sing and joke and use electronics. Together they wrote Uncle...
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