Just what you would expect: a great mix of smooth jazz/instrumental R&B made by a stellar cast of musicians including guitarist Eric Gale and bassist Marcus Miller. Washington's saxophone tone is immediately recognizable as is keyboardist Richard Tee's characteristic Fender Rhodes electric piano fed through a phase shifter - man, I love that sound. Jazz critics of the time didn't like Washington's smooth, melodic crossover sound but none of that matters to me. (However, a Downbeat magazine reviewer wrote if “commercial jazz saxophonists exalted to monarchic positions, Grover Washington Jr. would be the sovereign.” Play this smooth 37 minute album back-to-back with Washington's subsequent work on the Elektra label and it makes for a delightful evening (or morning or afternoon, for that matter).
Press of the time:
- US Billboard Top 200 chart: #24
- Billboard's Jazz LPs chart: #1
- Billboard's R&B albums chart: #8
- CashBox album chart: #30
- CashBox Jazz albums chart: #2
- Rolling Stone chart: #43
Tracks: It's all good. Top marks go to Snake Eyes (which funks it up with a tasty clavinet part) and the cover of the Stevie Wonder tune I Can't Help It (with its sweet bass line), originally recorded by Michael Jackson on his Off the Wall album.
Personal Memory Associated with this CD: None, but this week I've had several Grover Washington, Jr. listening marathons, utilizing vinyl, CDs, and digital files. This album, of course, was a part of those marathons.
Previously revisited for the blog:
Prime Cuts: The Columbia Years 1987-1999 (1999)
All My Tomorrows (1994)
Time Out of Mind (1989)
Anthology of Grover Washington, Jr. (1985)