There are several live DVDs featuring sax great Grover Washington, but the only live CD captured a gig in 1977. Grover Live, a new CD produced by Jason Miles, shows the progression in Washington’s sound as it documents a show in June 1997 at the Paramount Center for the Arts in Peekskill, N.Y., just two years before his death of a heart attack. Miles is the perfect choice for the CD: It was a labor of love for the keyboardist, who performed with Washington and has called on some of contemporary jazz’s best players for two Grover tribute CDs in the past.
Grover is Grover, one of the most influential jazz musicians of modern times, who earned the respect of straightahead fans as well as those tuned into his jazz ‘n’ R&B. What makes this production great, in addition to the music (“Soulful Strut,” “Winelight,” “Mr. Magic,” “Let It Flow” and “Strawberry Moon” are all here) is the seamless flow of the project, with plenty of audience interaction between Grover and his fans. Washington’s band on the date included Adam Holzman and Donald Robinson on keyboards and synthesizers, Gerald Veasley on electric bass, Richard Lee on guitar, Pablo Batista on percussion and Steven Wolf on drums.
Simply put, this one belongs in your collection. Close your eyes and you’re there.