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Grover Washington JrIn The Name Of Love – The Elektra Years 1979 to 1984 (Paradise/Winelight/Come Morning/Best Is Yet To Come/Inside Moves/bonus tracks) (5CD set) ... CD
Soulmusic.com/Elektra (UK), Late 70s/Early 80s. Used 5CD ... $19.99
A 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". Best Is Yet To Come is a set that strongly continues the special spirit that Grover Washington brought to his music during the Elektra Records years – as one of the few artists who really found a way to move forward from the style of 70s jazz funk, but not fall into some of the smoother jazz cliches that were about to envelop his contemporaries! Part of the strength of the record lies in Grover's strongly soul-based sense of timing – allowing for just the right amount of space between the notes to remind you that you're listening to a jazz soloist first and foremost, even when a guest like Patti Labelle might step in for a bit of vocals. Titles include "Brazilian Memories", "Mixty Motions", "Can You Dig It", "I'll Be With You", "Things Are Getting Better", and "The Best Is Yet To Come". Inside Moves has Washington soaring to the skies on soprano sax – as expressive a voice on the record as any soul singer might be – and maybe even more so on the few spots that do include vocals. Jon Lucien sings a bit on the record – and if you read these pages, you know how much we love him – but Grover's still the giant here, with a sense of timing and phrasing that few of his contemporaries could ever hope to match in a setting like this. Titles include "Jet Stream", "Sassy Stew", "Dawn Song", "Inside Moves", "Watching You Watching Me", and "Secret Stew". 5CD set features 19 more bonus tracks – all the single edits of songs from the albums! CD
 
 
 



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