=Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Masterpiece - Grover Washington, Jr.

I'm going to keep it short and sweet this week, as the job, the lecture I still need to prepare for tomorrow, family affairs, and upcoming travels this weekend are keeping me pretty busy.

Rarely does a song with a title as boastful as 'Masterpiece' live up to the hype. However, when that song happens to be a Norman Whitfield classic that has been 'jazzed up' by a Bob James arrangement, and includes killer players (e.g. Airto, Ron Carter, Richard Tee, and Idris Muhammad), the likelihood of living up to the hype increases significantly. Instead of simply taking my word for it though, why don't you go ahead and judge for yourself...

Masterpiece - Grover Washingon, Jr. - Kudu

Ultimately, Grover Washington, Jr. is credited alongside artists like George Benson, John Klemmer, and Herb Alpert as being responsible for developing the smooth jazz genre. Prior to helping move jazz to a more radio friendly format though, Washington recorded a handful of records with a much stronger soul-jazz vibe, as exemplified by today's selection. His break into the recording business was an extremely lucky one, resulting from Hank Crawford missing a Kudu records recording session in the early 1970s. Despite only playing in back-up roles prior to this point, Crawford's absence opened a door for Washington in a lead role. The result of the opportunity was Washington's first LP, Inner City Blues, released in 1971 on the Kudu label. Between 1971 and 1976, Washington recorded and released a total of 6 LPs for the Kudu label, with his most significant early commercial success resulting from the release of the album Mister Magic in 1974. After his time recording for Kudu records, Washington's recording career continued at a rather steady pace through the release of his final album, Aria in 2000.

Enjoy, and I'll try to be back in a few days with something new for your listening pleasure.

1 comment:

LjP said...