"Mister Magic" was the successful single and title track from the fifth album of one of jazz music's more well-known figures. Grover Washington, Jr. (December 12, 1943 -- December 17, 1999) was an American jazz-funk / soul-jazz saxophonist. Along with George Benson, John Klemmer, David Sanborn, Bob James, Chuck Mangione, Herb Alpert, and Spyro Gyra, he is considered by many to be one of the founders of the smooth jazz genre. He wrote some of his material and later became an arranger and producer. Washington was born in Buffalo, New York on December 12, 1943. His mother was a church chorister, and his father was a collector of old jazz gramophone records and a saxophonist as well, so music was everywhere in the home. He grew up with the great jazzmen and big band leaders like Benny Goodman, Fletcher Henderson, and others like them. At the age of 8, with the desire for him to be more than he could be, Grover Sr. gave Jr. a saxophone. He practiced and would sneak into clubs to see famous Buffalo blues musicians. Washington left Buffalo and played with a Midwest group called the Four Clefs. He was drafted into the U.S. Army shortly thereafter, but this was to be to his advantage, as he met drummer Billy Cobham there. Cobham, a mainstay in New York City, introduced Washington to many New York musicians. After leaving the Army, Washington freelanced his talents around New York City, eventually landing in Philadelphia in 1967. In 1970 and 1971, he appeared on Leon Spencer's first two albums on Prestige Records, together with Idris Muhammad and Melvin Sparks. Washington's big break came at the expense of another artist. Alto sax man Hank Crawford was unable to make a recording date with Creed Taylor's Kudu Records, and Washington took his place, even though he was a backup. This led to his first solo album, "Inner City Blues". He was talented and displayed heart and soul with soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone saxophones. Refreshing for his time, he made headway into the jazz mainstream. His fifth album, 1974's "Mister Magic", was a commercial success, and introduced guitarist Eric Gale as a near-permanent member in Washington's arsenal. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Washington made some of the genre's most memorable hits, including "Mr. Magic" and "Black Frost. In addition, he performed very frequently with other artists, including Bill Withers on "Just The Two Of Us" (still in regular rotation on radio today), Patti LaBelle on "The Best Is Yet To Come" and Phyllis Hyman on "A Sacred Kind Of Love". He is also remembered for his take on the Dave Brubeck classic "Take Five", and for his 1996 version of "Soulful Strut". On December 17, 1999, while waiting in the green room after taping four songs for "The Saturday Early Show" at CBS Studios in New York City, Washington collapsed. He was taken to St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at about 7:30 p.m. He was 56 years old. His doctors determined that he had suffered a massive heart attack. This channel is dedicated to the classic jazz music you've loved for years. The smokin' hot, icy cool jams that still make you tap your feet whenever you hear them . . . Cool Jazz is here!
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