JazzTimes (6/95, p.104) - "...awash with '70s-style grooves....sweet throated George plays up his pipes via vibes reminiscent of the Commodores, Marvin Gaye and Funkadelic....A trip back in time, with Duke in command, the sound wears comfortably well..."
Personnel includes: George Duke (vocals, piano, keyboards); Phil Perry, Lori Perry, James Ingram, Joyce Kennedy, Marvin Winans, The Emotions, Dianne Reeves, Rachelle Farrell (vocals); Everette Harp (soprano & alto saxophones); Kirk Whalum (tenor saxophone); Jerry Hey, Gary Grant (trumpet, flugelhorn); Michael Sembello (guitar, background vocals); Paul Jackson, Jr., Michael Landau, Ray Fuller (guitar); Larry Kimpel, Byron Miller, Ray Brown (bass); Stanley Clarke (piccolo bass); Dennis Chambers, Leon "Ndugu" Chancler, Terri Lynn Carrington (drums); Paulinho Da Costa (percussion).
Principally recorded at Le Gonks West and Conway Studios, Los Angeles, California.
George Duke has no ILLUSIONS when it comes to making good music. Packed with soul, jazz, R&B and funk, this latest collection of strong and diverse songs proves him to be truly a master of fusion. He succeeds not only in melding musical genres, but also in conveying a message of substance with an alluring style.
ILLUSION's songs speak from real life. From "Buffalo Soldiers," which honors the plight of African-Americans who served in the Civil War, and "C'est La Vie" (which warns, "Keepin' brothers down/It's gonna come back around"), to the romantic title track and the flirtatious "411," Duke writes from the heart. Each song sounds different, especially "Life And Times" which features an amazing array of talent, including James Ingram, Marvin Winans and Rachelle Ferrell among others. Another highlight is hearing the exquisite Dianne Reeves sing "Your love ain't all that, and you're getting kinda fat," on the melancholy "So I'll Pretend."
Yet for all the different subjects explored, the songs are held together with a deep groove. On the few instrumental tracks, Duke proves himself to still be a soulful improvisor. Whether he's playing over record scratches or strings, hip-hop rhythms or quiet storm beats, ILLUSIONS captures the sound and the soul of George Duke.