Grover, Jr. Washington: Soulful Strut

A gaggle of horn players make music imitative of saxophonist Grover Washington, Jr. Despite those copycats, the fact remains, he’s the one who stands out for being the tastiest groove master out there.

Grover’s trademark jazzy R&B based grooves are in abundance on Soulful Strut. The title cut, a remake of the Young-Holt Unlimited hit of 1968, starts things rolling with a nice easy beat that’s likely to provoke listeners to get to hip shaking of their own making. A few songs interject African beats and what’s neat here is how well their syncopation and rhythms blend with Washington’s urban contemporary sound. As is usual for Grover, the basic gist is upbeat, though he gets into a gentle romantic mood, plus a bit of grit, too. Supporting players, to include Ray Obiedo, Gerald Veasley, Pablo Batista, Richie Morales, Steve Gadd and Omar Hakim, are sympathetically deep to the rhythm and groove pocket. No surprises, just that warm Washington sound that wears so well.