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Bassist Gerald Veasley Performs Special Holiday Tribute to Grover Washington, Jr.

Gerald Veasley
Eric Darius
Grover Washington Jr.

The legendary and influential saxophonist Grover Washington, Jr. died of a heart attack on December 11, 1999, about this time 10 years ago. Bassist Gerald Veasley was performing with Washington at a taping of The Early Show on CBS in NYC, when the saxophonist collapsed in the green room. His death was a shock to the jazz and music world and a particularly tough blow for Veasley who had grown close personally to Washington and his family. Veasley had performed off and on with Washington for over 12 years. On Friday, December 11, Veasley will present a special holiday tribute to Grover Washington Jr. at the Miller Center for the Arts in Reading, Pa. The concert will feature Veasley with his band, as well as special guest Eric Darius on saxophone.

Although he’s participated in a few tributes to Grover on record and in performance (including one at his own Jazz Base nightclub in Reading), Veasley was a reluctant tribute organizer, finding the whole business just too painful. Recently a fan badgered him and reminded him that it had been 10 years since Grover died and that he should do something to keep Grover’s music alive. Knowing that Grover’s birthday was also coming up on December 16 and that Grover loved holiday music, Veasley decided to move ahead with a show to remember his mentor.

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