Grover Washington Jr - Mister Magic
He is considered by many to be one of the founders of the smooth jazz genre due to the immense contribution he did by elevating and influencing this particular kind of subgenre jazz known as Soul Jazz and Boogaloo. In his lifetime Grover Washington made some of the genre's most memorable hits, including "Mr. Magic," "Reed Seed," "Black Frost," "Winelight," "Inner City Blues" and "The Best is Yet to Come". In addition, he performed very frequently with other artists, including Bill Withers on "Just the Two of Us" (still in regular rotation on radio today), Patti LaBelle on "The Best is Yet to Come" and Phyllis Hyman on "A Sacred Kind of Love". He is also remembered for his take on the Dave Brubeck classic "Take Five", and for his 1996 version of "Soulful Strut". Whilst 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 10 in Billboard's Top 40 album chart and the title track reached #16 on the R&B singles chart (#54, pop). All these albums included guitarist Eric Gale as a near-permanent member in Washington's arsenal. His follow-up on Kudu in 1975, Feels So Good also made #10 on the album chart. A string of acclaimed records brought Washington through the 1970s, culminating in the signature piece for everything he would do from then on. Winelight
(1980) was the album that defined everything Washington was then about, having signed for Elektra Records, part of the major Warner Music group. The album was smooth, fused with R&B and easy listening feel. Washington's love of basketball, especially the Philadelphia 76ers, led him to dedicate the second track, "Let It Flow", to Julius Erving (Dr. J). The highlight of the album was his collaboration with soul artist Bill Withers, "Just the Two of Us," a huge hit on radio during the spring and summer of '81, peaking at #2 on the Hot 100. The album went platinum in 1981, and also won Grammy Awards in 1982 for Best R&B Song ("Just the Two of Us"), and Best Jazz Fusion Performance ("Winelight"). "Winelight" was also nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year.
In the post-Winelight era, Washington is credited for giving rise to a new batch of talent that would make its mark in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He is known for bringing Kenny G to the forefront as well as such smooth jazz artists as Walter Beasley, Steve Cole, Pamela Williams, Najee, and George Howard. His song Mr. Magic is noted as being influential on Go-go music starting in the mid-1970s. with regards to the he titled it “Mister Magic”, you will find tranquilizing songs such as “Earth Tones” in which he features Bob James
whereas he is playing soprano over a weave of percussion and electronics that suggests the influence of Miles Davis's electric fusion work, while "Passion Flower," a beautiful ballad by Duke Ellington's composing partner, Billy Strayhorn, has Washington's soprano backed by rich strings. His tenor is potent and soulful on the punchy version of "Mr. Magic" and funkier still on the James-Washington collaboration "Black Frost." Eric Gale turns in some superb guitar solos, and the studio band, anchored by taut backbeats from bassist Gary King and drummer Harvey Mason is marvelously spellbound and earsome!
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