Ultimate Collection

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Cohen
Kenny G and the whole contemporary jazz crew didn't spring out of nowhere. Their stylistic forefather is Grover Washington Jr., a stylish saxophonist whose mellow sound and easy-grooving solos typified the jazz-inflected music then becoming popular during the '70s and '80s. Listening to this new best-of collection brings home how virile and genuinely funky Washington's approach was, particularly in comparison to many of today's contemporary jazz stars who followed in his wake.

On the signature 1970's material -- "Inner City Blues Makes me Wanna Holler," "Mr. Magic," "It Feels So Good" -- you can hear how Washington himself has followed ...

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Cohen
Kenny G and the whole contemporary jazz crew didn't spring out of nowhere. Their stylistic forefather is Grover Washington Jr., a stylish saxophonist whose mellow sound and easy-grooving solos typified the jazz-inflected music then becoming popular during the '70s and '80s. Listening to this new best-of collection brings home how virile and genuinely funky Washington's approach was, particularly in comparison to many of today's contemporary jazz stars who followed in his wake.

On the signature 1970's material -- "Inner City Blues Makes me Wanna Holler," "Mr. Magic," "It Feels So Good" -- you can hear how Washington himself has followed in the footsteps of earlier r&b instrumental heroes, including saxophonists Hank Crawford and David "Fathead" Newman. Washington also knew when the addition of vocals could take a song straight to hitsville. "Just the Two of Us" his classic collaboration with Bill Withers, and "The Best is Yet to Come," with guest singer Patti Labelle, are perfect examples of how sharing the spotlight can sometimes pay off big. For Washington's later work, turn to the new, PRIME CUTS:THE GREATEST HITS:1987-1999.

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Hip-O Select's Ultimate Collection of Grover Washington, Jr. tunes is pretty much that. It's true that it does leave out his great, side-long reading of Marvin Gaye's "Trouble Man" and his version of "Mercy Mercy Me." That said, this is an amazing set that includes in its first three selections "Mister Magic," "Just the Two of Us," (a vocal tune with Bill Withers), and "Feel So Good," arguably the late saxophonist's greatest creative period before settling into commercial success and softer groove territory with Columbia. The Kudu/CTI years with Creed Taylor established Washington as one of the great soul-jazz and jazz-funk players. His abilities as an improviser on both tenor and soprano were virtually limitless, and his technique was, to understate the case, more than enviable. Add to this that Washington chose to be a melodic improviser from the get-go: check the Bob James-penned tune "Black Frost," which carries within it the heart of funky soul and uses melody around the tune's theme to such effect, the ensemble is challenged to try to deepen its theme or fade into the background. The enormous Bob James arrangement on the medley of "Ain't No Sunshine"/"Theme from Man and Boy (Better Days)" with a the swelling strings around him makes Washington use restraint rather than compete and uses his many subtle soul harmonies to compensate, bringing a very deep and nuanced reading to both songs. One can only hope that Washington's CTI/Kudu releases get a deluxe treatment one day and come back into print, particularly Soul Box and All the King's Horses, though Feels So Good and Mister Magic already are. As a collection, this one is very tough to beat.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/16/1999
  • Label: Motown
  • UPC: 601215388824
  • Catalog Number: 53888
  • Sales rank: 13,624

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Grover Washington Jr. Primary Artist, Flute, Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
Patti LaBelle Vocals
Bill Withers Vocals
Phil Bodner Baritone Saxophone
Ron Carter Bass
Jon Faddis Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Thad Jones Trumpet, French Horn
Marvin Stamm Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Al Brown Viola
Ralph MacDonald Percussion, Bells, Shaker
Dexter Wansel Synthesizer
David Nadien Violin
Airto Moreira Percussion
Tasha Thomas Vocals
Wayne Andre Trombone
Seymour Barab Cello
Randy Brecker Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Maurice Brown Violin
Tyrone Brown Bass
Lewis Eley Violin
Max Ellen Violin
Barry Finclair Violin
John Frosk Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Steve Gadd Percussion, Drums
Eric Gale Guitar
Paul Gershman Violin
Harry Glickman Violin
Emanuel Green Violin
Hilda Harris Vocals
Harry Lookofsky Violin
Julius Held Violin
Idris Muhammad Drums
Marilyn Jackson Vocals
Louis Johnson Bass
Leo Kahn Violin
Harry Katzman Violin
Gary King Bass
Harold Kohon Violin
James K. Lloyd Keyboards
Guy Lumia Violin
Joseph Malin Violin
Harvey Mason Sr. Drums
Charles McCracken Violin
Marcus Miller Bass
Bob Millikan Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Cedric A. Napoleon Bass
Raoul Poliakin Violin
Max Pollikoff Violin
Matthew Raimondi Violin
Alan Raph Bass Trombone
Barry Rogers Trombone
Alan Shulman Violin, Cello
James Sid Simmons Keyboards, Electric Piano
James Herb Smith Guitar
Anthony Sophos Cello
Richard Lee Steacker Guitar
Maretha Stewart Vocals
Tony Studd Bass Trombone
Richard Tee Organ, Electric Piano, fender rhodes
The Manny Vardi Strings Viola
Millard Vinson Drums
Darryl Washington Drums
Snooky Young Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Julius Brand Violin
Leslie Burrs Flute
Paul Winter Violin
Donald Ashworth Baritone Saxophone
Kenneth "Spider Webb" Rice Drums
Technical Credits
Marvin Gaye Composer
Rahsaan Roland Kirk Composer
Ralph MacDonald Producer
Dexter Wansel Arranger, Producer
Creed Taylor Producer
Grover Washington Jr. Arranger, Producer
David Nathan Essay
Vartan Art Direction
Carol Friedman Tray Photo
Ilene Weingard Art Direction
James Nyx Jr. Composer
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