Picks and Pans Review: Thief in the Night

UPDATED 05/06/1985 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 05/06/1985 at 01:00 AM EDT

George Duke

It took a while for the Industrial Revolution to overrun music. But as synthesizers become more convincing mimics of bass, drums, horns, guitars and even voices, we are rapidly approaching the age of bionic music. George Duke, keyboardist extraordinaire, works comfortably in the wave of techno-pop, as this brassy pop album proves. On several tracks studio engineer Mick Guzauski is credited with providing "special effects." The most ingenious of those tricks have apparently been performed with Duke's vocals. He has never sounded this charismatic. Nor does he sound the same on any two tracks. On Remembering the Sixties, a song he wrote with Stevie Wonder, George even does an uncanny imitation of Stevie's singing. Duke's playing on a vast array of electronic keyboards is, as always, polished—and moving. The clavinet solo on Love Mission will give you goose bumps. Duke has always gotten more acclaim for helping others than for his own records. He has played with everyone from Cannonball Adderley to Frank Zappa and has produced Deneice Williams, Jeffrey Osbourne and many others. His 19 solo albums have all displayed talent and versatility, whether the MO was jazz, blues or funk. But with the exception of his funk records for Epic in the '70s, his personal efforts have often missed commercially. Happily for him, Thief in the Night is serious urban pop that still has serious profit potential. (Elektra)

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