For our classic among classics segment I have the man that I refer to as the great, greater than great, Grover Washington Jr. He is my favorite performer of all time. I saw him perform at a venue in San Diego where the sweet sounds from his sensational sax drifted over the nearby bay. It was the most memorable performance of all the artists I have seen over the years.
Grover is one of the founders of the smooth jazz format. His music was credited for giving rise to a new batch of talent including Kenny G, Walter Beasley, Steve Cole, Pamela Williams, Najee, Boney James, Pieces Of A Dream and others. His influence continues to this day.
While his first three albums established him as a force in jazz and soul music, it was his fourth album in 1974, Mister Magic, that proved a major commercial success. The album climbed to number 1 on Billboard's R&B album chart as smooth jazz was not a recognized format yet. By the early 1980’s his work was winning Grammys and his albums went platinum.
Sadly on December 17, 1999, five days after his 56th birthday, Washington passed away from a massive heart attack while waiting in the green room after performing four songs for The Saturday Early Show, at CBS Studios in New York City.
My focus this week is on that fourth album in 1974 that started his climb to superstardom. Now more than just a classic, Grover’s album Mr Magic was a huge influence on future music. I am pleased to play for you the title track to Mr Magic.
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