My Grover Washington, Jr. collection February 1, 2012Posted by Mike C. in Internet, Interviews, Jazz, Media, Music, News, Personal.
I was first exposed to the late Grover Washington, Jr. in 1996, the year I began listening to what was then CD 101.9 (now FM News 101.9) here in New York. “Mister Magic” was the first song I heard. Then, there were “Take Five (Take Another Five)” and “Soulful Strut.” In the early 200s, Before I wised up and bought physical CDs or digital MP3s (through iTunes or Amazon), I downloaded two of those songs through a free file-sharing program.
When my aunt moved to South Florida in 2003, she gave me a Grover compilation album. I only listened to two songs on it: “Let It Flow (For Dr. J),” a tribute to Grover’s love of Julius Erving and the Philadelphia 76ers, and “East River Drive,” a tribute to the Manhattan parkway otherwise known as the FDR Drive.
A few years ago, with the help of my friend Matt Marron’s TWC Classics site, a tribute to The Weather Channel, I learned of many more Grover songs that were used in the Local Forecasts in the 1980s. They included “Winelight” and “Jet Stream.”
Finally, in December 2010, I took the big step and began my Grover Washington, Jr. collection of CDs. I bought:
- Winelight (1980)
- Come Morning (1981)
- The Best Is Yet To Come (1982)
- Inside Moves (1984)
- Time Out Of Mind (1989)
- Next Exit (1992)
- Soulful Strut (1996)
That was it until a few nights ago after reading an online interview with Bob James (h/t Fourplay website cross-post). Since I didn’t have Grover’s early albums in my collection yet, I didn’t think of this:
You were with CTI for a few years before your own project debuted. When did Creed Taylor interject and aid in the progression of things?
Well, I was working a lot with Creed at the time for CTI. But I was working primarily as an arranger and would play piano on other jazz artists’ records. After doing this for about two or three years, on a fairly stable basis, and being on the support staff for other artists like Grover Washington, finally Creed asked me if I wanted to do my own album. So of course I said yes. One ended up being my first [album] for CTI.
Bob appeared on Grover’s first five albums. Saturday night, I bought the last two of those five and a few after that:
- Mister Magic (1974)
- Feels So Good (1975) (Amazon MP3s)
- A Secret Place (1976) (Amazon MP3s)
- Reed Seed (1978)
- Paradise (1979)
- Strawberry Moon (1987)
Some of the early stuff is a little too fusion-y for me, but still great.
Grover Washington, Jr. died in December 1999 at the age of 56. His legacy lives on through his recordings, a generation of saxophonists inspired by him, and jazz fans like me.