Grover Washington, Jr.

Platinum Collection

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Grover Washington, Jr.'s mosaic jazz persona balms like an elixir on 13 mellow ones from his 1979 to 1984 Elektra Records period; Love Songs features at least one title from each of his five Elektra albums. These were melodious times for Washington who happily demonstrates his virtuosity on multiple reed instruments and the flute, accompanied by backing singers, acclaimed studio musicians, and star vocalists. Bill Withers unites with Washington on the chart-busting "Just the Two of Us"; Patti Labelle joins him on Cynthia Biggs and Dexter Wansel's "The Best Is Yet to Come"; and Grady Tate croons "Be Mine Tonight." Leonard "Doc" Gibbs, better-known now as chef Emeril Lagasse's bandleader (on his cooking show), burns on percussions. This is smooth urban jazz at its finest; even Bob Marley's "Jammin'," a rocker for sure, comes off buttery. If you don't have any of Washington's LPs from this era, this is a good catch-up. Silky joints like "Winelight," "Let It Flow (For 'Dr. J')," "East River Drive," and others make listening a pleasure: not the challenge that jazz purists prefer. Even if you're lukewarm about jazz you'll enjoy these accessible spins.

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