Grover Washington, Jr.

Feels So Good/A Secret Place

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The pairing of these two albums by the mighty Australian reissue label Raven is important for a couple of reasons. First, it puts together a beautifully remastered version, one of the late Grover Washington, Jr.'s unassailable classics in Feels So Good. Next it puts his A Secret Place in a new light when shimmied up against the former. For a long time, fans felt that Mister Magic and Feels So Good were the last recordings where Washington still took chances rather than be dictated to by slick L.A. producers for Columbia Records. A Secret Place reveals itself to have a place of honor among Washington's truly soulful yet utterly inventive funky jazz records. A decent remaster of Feels So Good was long overdue, as was Mister Magic, but little did we know how sorely we needed A Secret Place as well. The tracks on the former need no more critical comment: it's among the most essential jazz-funk records ever made and easily one of the most lyrical and passionate. The latter does contain the beautiful "Passion Flower," which was a single, but it also contains a killer read of Harvey Mason's "Love Makes It Better," and an understated, chancy version of Herbie Hancock's "Dolphin Dance" and Washington's own title track, which is worth the purchase price alone.

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