Archive for December 9th, 2021

Grover Washington Jr. – In The Name Of Love – The Elektra Years 1979 to 1984

GROVER WASHINGTON JR ELEKTRAA great run of music from Grover Washington Jr – five full albums, plus lots of bonus tracks too! First up is Paradise – one of those records you see so much it’s easy to forget how great it is! Grover’s a real genius with the sax on this record – taking a “less is more” cue from Stanley Turrentine’s 70s work, and toning down his playing to an even tighter style than on the Kudu albums of earlier years, to a level of ultimate economy that really leaves us breathless. Grover hits a rarified level here that we’d only reserve for a small few – like Steely Dan or The Crusaders, both groups who teeter on the same brink, and make it work perfectly. Titles include “Asia’s Theme”, “Tell Me About It Now”, “Feel It Comin”, “Icey”, and “The Answer In Your Eyes”. 

Winelight is a smooth smooth classic from Grover Washington Jr – a set that has a classy image on the cover, and a classic groove within – a completely sublime blend of jazz, soul, and funk, all given the sort of masterful finish that you might have found on the best records by The Crusaders at the time! The difference, though, is that Washington’s the lead soloist throughout – crafting some especially nice lines on his trademark soprano sax – which he used in ways that made him one of the most important mainstream jazz artists of his time – and one of the few to really open the doors of the music to folks who might not have been listening otherwise. Grover’s sense of space and timing is wonderful throughout – and titles include the classic debut with Bill Withers on “Just The Two Of Us” –plus “Winelight”, “Let It Flow”, “In The Name Of Love”, “Take Me There”, and “Make Me A Memory (Sad Samba)”. 

On Come Morning, Grover Washington blows over some great arrangements from William Eaton – full, but lean too – and with the same sort of slinky groove that always worked best for Grover back at Kudu Records! The sound is tight, but never too slick – that magically soulful approach that always made Grover a real standout from his contemporaries – one of the few cats who could smooth out jazz without ever losing its soul – thanks to lots of well-crafted lead lines on soprano sax! Titles include “East River Drive”, “Jamming”, “Little Black Samba”, “Be Mine”, and “Reaching Out”. Continue reading