Top Artists – Grover Washington, Jr.

Letter of the Week – “I’m bowled over! Grover is so NOT Kenny G.”

More of the Music of Grover Washington

More Jazz Recordings Featuring the Saxophone

One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently:

Hey Tom, 

So get a load of this. Until this afternoon I’d never even listened to Grover Washington – – that link you sent me earlier has All The King’s Horses highlighted not very far down. I remember seeing that album on the site not long ago, but Grover Washington?? Is Tom nuts? I considered him to be in the same category as Kenny G, lord emperor of Smooth Jazz… whatever, some people love it but it’s not for me. I’m a bop/hard bop guy – Monk, Dolphy, Dexter, Hubbard, Coltrane, Griffin, Morgan… no way I could be a fan of Grover.

But OK, Tom’s been right on so many things up til now… let’s see if Spotify (horrors!) has that album. WHOA… I’m bowled over! Grover is so NOT Kenny G. – the guy grooves hard, but funky – with a soul/blues feel, sometimes a little latin beat mixed in. Damn!!! It’s still available? Add to Cart. And Winelight is only $150? I’ll take that too.

Restraint is fickle, and situational. Thanks again.

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Grover Washington / Winelight – A Demo Disc for Bass (on the Right Copy)

Hot Stamper Pressings with Demo Disc Bass

Reviews and Commentaries for Bass Demo Discs

What’s unusual about this album — shocking really — is how MEATY the bottom end is. I don’t know of a pop jazz recording with beefier, more articulate or weightier bass. The only record I can think of in this genre of jazz with comparable bass is Mangione’s Children of Sanchez. We played some copies of that album recently and were just knocked out with how well recorded the bass is, just the way we were knocked out by the best copies of Grover Washington’s Winelight from a recent shootout. Both of these albums really set the standard for recording this kind of music. 

This is a classic Grover Washington album with the hit Just The Two Of Us. I happen to like this record for what it is: good pop jazz. If that ain’t your thing this record is unlikely to change your mind, but if you’re a fan of the genre I imagine you’ll be delighted with the sound and music here.

And I can’t end without mentioning the amazing steel drums on Just the Two of Us, complete with the incredibly talented Ralph McDonald on percussion. When that song hit big, overnight Ralph McDonald’s session dates were booked up for years in advance, and on this copy you will hear exactly why. The energy of the song just explodes when he gets going on whatever the hell he is banging on.

Grover Washington – Feels So Good

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  • Killer Triple Plus (A+++) sound on side one and Double Plus (A++) on side two – who knew this was such a well recorded album?
  • So much like live music — uncompressed, present, full of energy, with the instruments clearly located and surrounded by the natural space of the studio
  • An RVG recording (and mastering) from 1975 that is a KNOCKOUT on a copy like this
  • “Its shimmering, soulful grooves refute the argument that smooth jazz is little more than mere ambience, combining expert playing and intricate songwriting to create music that is both compelling and comforting.” Allmusic 4 Stars
  • If you’re a Grover Washington fan, or perhaps a fan of mid-’70s Soul Jazz, this title from 1975, is surely a Must Own.
  • The complete list of titles from 1975 that we’ve reviewed to date can be found here

Can you believe that Feels So Good topped both the soul and jazz albums charts and peaked at number ten on the pop album charts in the 1975?! Quite an achievement for our man Grover here. He had earlier made an album with Bob James handling the arrangements for the very large group of musicians on hand, as well as playing playing keyboards, and that album has been a personal favorite of mine for more than forty years, All the King’s Men. (more…)

Grover Washington, Jr. – All The King’s Horses

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More Jazz Recordings Featuring the Saxophone

  • Washington’s sophomore release finally returns to the site with STUNNING Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on both sides
  • There’s so much life in these grooves – the sound jumps out of the speakers right into your lap
  • Credit must go to Rudy Van Gelder for recording and mastering this album so well, and to Bob James for his brilliant big group arrangements
  • We cannot recommend this album highly enough – if you have the big speakers a big group of musicians need to perform live in your listening room, his record is going to be nothing less than a thrill
  • 4 stars: “. . . this set has assumed its proper place in Washington’s catalog: as one of his more ambitious and expertly performed sessions.”
  • If you’re a Grover Washington fan, this is a Must Own Classic from 1972 that belongs in your collection.
  • The complete list of titles from 1972 that we’ve reviewed to date can be found here.

Both sides of this original Kudu pressing are OUT OF THIS WORLD. The sweetness and transparency of Grover Washington Jr.’s breathy sax went beyond any copy we’ve ever played. Who knew it could sound like this? We sure didn’t!

It’s spacious and full of life with virtually no distortion. Of special note, this copy has amazingly articulate bass which brings out the undeniable funkiness of the music in a way that no other copy did.

The early ’70s were a good time for Rudy Van Gelder. All the King’s Men from 1973 is an amazing Demo Disc for a large group. But it only sounds good on the copies that it sounds good on, on the pressings that were mastered, pressed and cleaned right, a fact that has eluded most jazz vinyl aficionados interested in good sound.

But not us. We’ve played the very special pressings that prove the album can sound amazing. (more…)

Grover Washington, Jr. – Mister Magic

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More 5 Star Albums

  • Mister Magic makes its Hot Stamper debut on the new site with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it from start to finish – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • We guarantee the sound is dramatically bigger, richer, fuller, and livelier than any pressing you have ever heard
  • We’re big fans of Rudy Van Gelder’s work in the early- to mid-70s, and it’s records like this (and All the King’s Horses) that make our case
  • 5 stars: “This is one of Grover Washington, Jr.’s best-loved recordings and considered a classic of R&B-ish jazz. . . Highly recommended.”

Most pressings are murky, overly smooth, and lack energy. Often they also suffer from serious congestion and veiling. Our job is to find you the copy that has none of those problems, and that is precisely what we have done with this Shootout Winner. You get tons of space and energy, along with balanced tonality and great presence.

Washington is backed by excellent players including Bob James, Phil Upchurch, Harvey Mason, Ralph MacDonald, Eric Gale and many more.

(more…)

Grover Washington – Winelight

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More Bill Withers

  • Outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from beginning to end on this wonderful Elektra pressing – fairly quiet vinyl too
  • Both sides here are incredibly rich, full-bodied and musical with excellent bass — essential for this funky music
  • We’ve called this album a Demo Disc for Bass and any Hot Stamper copy will show you why
  • 4 1/2 stars: “Winelight is one of his finest albums, and not primarily because of the Bill Withers hit “Just the Two of Us.” It is the five instrumentals that find Washington (on soprano, alto, and tenor) really stretching out…”

(more…)

Grover Washington Jr. – Inner City Blues – Our Shootout Winner from 2012

TWO A+++ SIDES ON QUIET VINYL, making this the best copy of Inner City Blues we’ve found! This copy trounced the other ones we played, giving us the kind of open, transparent sound that brings out the best in this music. The overall sound is very clean and clear with lots of weight down low and extension up top. I don’t think you could find a better sounding copy no matter what you did. 

The lineup here is absolutely stellar, with players including Ron Carter, Idris Muhammed, Richard Tee, Airto and Eric Gale, among many others.

Yer Average Copy

The typical sound we find on most pressings is full of heavy compression as well as the kind of high frequency restriction that prevents the top end from extending naturally. The result: Grover’s horn takes on a slightly sour quality — not a fun way to hear this kind of music. (more…)

Grover Washington – Mister Magic – Our Shootout Winner from 2014

xxxxx

A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

The typical pressing is murky, overly smooth and lacks energy. Many copies also suffer from serious congestion and veiling. No such problems here! You get tons of space and energy, along with balanced tonality and great presence.

A 4 1/2 star album in the All Music Guide. Washington is backed here by excellent players including Bob James, Phil Upchurch, Harvey Mason, Ralph MacDonald, Eric Gale and many more. (more…)

Grover Washington Jr. / All The King’s Horses – Don’t Diss RVG in 1973

The really good RVG jazz pressings sound shockingly close to live music — uncompressed, present, full of energy, with the instruments clearly located and surrounded by the natural space of the studio. As our stereo has gotten better, and we’ve found better pressings and learned how to clean them better, his “you-are-there” live jazz sound has begun to impress us more and more.

Obviously the credit must go to Rudy Van Gelder for recording and mastering the album so well.

The early ’70s were a good time for Van Gelder. All the King’s Men from 1973 is an amazing Demo Disc for large group. But it only sounds good on the copies that it sounds good on, on the pressings that were mastered, pressed and cleaned right, a fact that has eluded most jazz vinyl aficionados interested in good sound.

But not us. We’ve played the very special pressings that prove the album can sound amazing.

It’s spacious and full of life with virtually no distortion. Of special note, this copy has amazingly articulate bass which brings out the undeniable funkiness of the music in a way that no other copy did. There’s so much life in these grooves. The sound jumps out of the speakers right into your lap.

(more…)