(5 / 5)
Three words only, to define a unique sound, to define sheer class and palpable soul you could bathe in. Those three words: Grover Washington Jr.
Here, we have a joyous five-CD set celebrating the late and the great jazz-funk/jazz-soul saxophonist, who along with George Benson was one of the originators of the smooth jazz genre.
Sadly, Grover left us in December 1999 at the age of 56, when he still had a lot to give. On December 17, 1999, five days after his 56th birthday, Grover collapsed after performing four songs for The Saturday Early Show, at CBS Studios in New York. He died in hospital later that day after a massive heart attack.
But his musical legacy lives on and David Nathan and his respected UK label, SoulMusic Records, have compiled an essential selection of his back catalogue for this faultless set. A five-CD deluxe set consisting of expanded editions of Grover Washington Jr’s Elektra albums.
Produced by David Nathan, mastering by Nick Robbins and artwork by Roger Williams, “In The Name Of Love” features 19 single edits assembled for the first time, including the ‘A’ and ‘B’ sides of Grover’s US-charted hits between 1979-1984.
With informative commentary on each album by journalist and author Charles Waring, with quotes from famed Philadelphia producer/songwriter Dexter Wansel – who worked with Grover on his “The Best Is Yet To Come” LP – plus personal comments from two of today’s acclaimed saxophonists, Najee and Gerald Albright – who consider Grover a major influence and inspiration
One of the most influential musicians in the smooth jazz movement that emerged in the early ‘70s, Grover’s work as a saxophonist hit a new plateau of popular acceptance with his recordings for Elektra.
Highlights of which include the million-selling “Winelight” LP, featuring the timeless classic “Just The Two Of Us”, featuring singer/songwriter Bill Withers, and “The Best Is Yet To Come”, the title track of which features special guest Patti LaBelle.
This box set is the companion to “Sacred Kind Of Love”, the 2019 SoulMusic Records’ anthology of Grover’s recordings for Columbia Records.
Disc one here offers up “Paradise” and two bonus tracks. Disc two: “Winelight”, plus five bonus cuts. The third disc: “Come Morning”, plus three extra tracks. CD # 4: “The Best Is Yet To Come”, and four additional tracks. The last of the five CDs delivers “Inside Moves”, plus four bonus tracks.
54 tracks in total across the five discs. What’s not to like?
By Steve Best
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’