Face the Music features straight on piano and keyboard work by Duke, but also has great backup help from Christian McBride, Jeff Lee Johnson, John Roberts, Lenny Castro, Kirk Whalum, Everett Harp, Dan Higgins, Oscar Bradshaw and Isaac Smith. In the case of McBride, on almost all the tracks he uses upright bass instead of bass guitar on these urban grooves. The upright provides a much better groove and earthy tone that makes these tracks move.
The tracks that I enjoyed very much are Chillin', which is being heard on some smooth jazz outlets, the only lead vocal Duke does on the CD Close to You with Whalum's perfect sax background and Ten Mile Jog, which I consider one of the most original urban grooves I have heard in a long time. The feeling of it is so good that you just can't help but get on your feet and move.
It is very hard today to not only get a new label going, but to be able to get the record stores to put your releases in the bin and actively promote them. George Duke's Face the Music is one of those releases that will establish Big Piano Music as a major force in the urban jazz area. The reason why it will be a major force is the professionalism that Duke puts into this premier project. Look out! Get ready to Face the Music.