Grover Live’ - new CD released by Lightyear Entertainment
Tuesday, 22 June 2010 00:00


The lyrical and distinctive sonic signature of the late Grover Washington Jr. (1943 - 1999) has ensured that he will always be one of my favourite modern jazz-funk/soul-jazz saxophonists. As a result, a collection of many of his works resides in my audio library.

In 1981, I purchased a copy of the blockbuster album, Winelight from Nautilus Superdisc Recordings at the summer Consumer Electronics Show in Chicago. This audiophile release was initially produced by Grover and Ralph Mc Donald for the Elektra label. The music was subsequently licensed by Nautilus, re-mastered at half speed and pressed on virgin vinyl as a limited edition collector’s item.

Who could ever forget the song Just the Two of Us, composed by Ralph Mc Donald in tribute to the twin island state of Trinidad and Tobago? For me, the deft touch of our own Steelpan virtuoso Robert Greenidge on double seconds was the selling point for this record.

A few weeks ago, Arnie Holland, CEO of Lightyear Entertainment asked Sanch to distribute a new Grover Washington CD entitled Grover Live. The music, performed two years before he died, had never been commercialised. The concert took place at the Paramount Centre for the Arts, Peekskill New York, June7, 1997. After auditioning a promotional copy, I accepted Arnie’s offer, unhesitatingly.

There are eighteen selections, in the midst of which is a gorgeous medley of eight all-time favourites that segue effortlessly from tracks nine to sixteen. The other musicians are Adam Holzman - keyboards, Gerald Veasley - bass, Steven Wolf - drums, with Richard Lee Steacker on guitars. Pablo Batista plays congas and percussion.

As a connoisseur of live recorded music, I was enthralled with the group although the musicians seem ‘removed’ from their audience. I prefer recordings that put me to sit in the front row of a concert space. Cardioid microphones may have been used for close miking, resulting in minimal hall ambience and audience participation in the mix. Arnie commented.

The source was a board mix to a DAT and it was lovingly mastered. The fact that we left in the conversation with the audience makes Grover come alive as a warm human being. There was no opportunity to remix the recording.” From my perspective, the overall performance is absolutely riveting and I encourage everyone to purchase a copy. As far as I am concerned, the disc could easily have been entitled Grover Lives!

Simeon L. Sandiford
Managing Director