Grover Washington Jr. – 1975 – Mister Magic

Grover Washington Jr. Mister Magic front

Is it Smooth Jazz or Soul Jazz?  Truth is, it’s both.

This is an album that you’d not want to miss. If you managed to get a hand on it, just snatch it quickly and put it on your shopping cart. It’s like a wine that you only sip on Friday evenings, or when you need to relax. Just kick back, try to free your mind, and let those groove-masters, whose names are Grover Washington Jr., Bob James, Harvey Mason and Eric Gale give you a musical massage. When you’re done, start searching for “Feels So Good”, which has a similiar flavor to this one, and is a Motown product.

Tracks
A1 Earth Tone 12:26
A2 Passion Flower 5:33
B1 Mister Magic 9:02
B2 Black Frost 6:05

Grover Washington Jr. Mister Magic back

The hit and the most obvious reason to purchase this record is the title song, one of the few true Jazz-Funk classics. I don’t know how many dozens of times we’ve danced to this one. And even today: just put this song on, turn up your hi-fi and see what happens. A sure winner.
The band is a hit, too: Harvey Mason, Gary King, Eric Gale, Bob James (who’s also in charge of the production). The album opens with a jazzy Bob James composition, Earth Tones, which features a quite complex, syncopated 6/4 beat where Grover Washington and Eric Gale (check his wah wah solo!) get plenty of space to improvise; Grover delivering some of his freest and jazziest soprano solos of his career – obviously, he’d studied his Coltrane – before he grabs his tenor, where he’s slightly more conventional. Passion Flower is a dreamy ballad orchestrated by a string section (courtesy B. James). It’s a Billy Strayhorn composition transposed into the mid-seventies, featuring Washington on his soprano sax. A gem.
Black Frost is the least interesting track of the four. It tries to repeat what we’ve already heard in the title song, and much better there.
Overall, Mister Magic is a magic moment in the Grover Washington, Jr. discography that has stood the test of time.

Grover Washington Jr. Mister Magic label 1

Pure dark magic from Grover Washington – a record that was a megahit back in the 70s, but which still sounds amazing many decades later! There’s a sound here that’s completely sublime – and the album is to Grover’s career what the first 2 CTI sets by Bob James were to his – a stretched-out, masterpiece of sublime jazzy energy – served up with a really spacious sound overall!

Grover’s sharp-edged sax is at the lead of the set – but the album’s also awash in electric piano work from Bob James – and backings that are as lean, clean, and soulful as the best on CTI from the time. Titles include the killer “Black Frost” – a track that we never tire of – plus the hit “Mister Magic“, and the cuts “Earth Tones” and “Passion Flower“.

This is one of Grover Washington, Jr.’s best-loved recordings and considered a classic of r&bish jazz. All four songs (which includes Billy Strayhorn’sPassion Flower“) are quite enjoyable but it is “Mister Magic” that really caught on as a major hit. Bob James provided the colorful if somewhat commercial arrangements, there are spots for guitarist Eric Gale, and Washington (mostly on tenor and soprano) is heard in particularly creative form.

Highly recommended.

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22 Comments
  • Terence
    Posted at 19:17h, 15 March 2017 Reply

    Some of the best music ever known to man.

  • Alain
    Posted at 19:25h, 15 March 2017 Reply

    Having this on vinyl, a true classic. Epic.

  • Matt Logan
    Posted at 19:47h, 15 March 2017 Reply

    A Masterpiece of Smooth Soul Jazz

  • Curtis
    Posted at 19:55h, 15 March 2017 Reply

    This man’s just great! I love every sound of him.

  • Carlos Roberto
    Posted at 10:56h, 16 March 2017 Reply

    fantástico

  • Edgar
    Posted at 12:57h, 16 March 2017 Reply

    Oh Yeaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!!! Memories, sweet memories of my youth.

  • Braziliano
    Posted at 16:47h, 16 March 2017 Reply

    Terrific post! I sure am diggin’ this rip!

  • Frey
    Posted at 01:44h, 17 March 2017 Reply

    one of the best songs/albums of a life time👌❤

  • Serpico
    Posted at 02:21h, 17 March 2017 Reply

    Wonderful post. Bless you.

  • 春男
    Posted at 10:23h, 17 March 2017 Reply

    なぜか こころが開放されて~~ 気分がいい~❤

  • Ademar
    Posted at 12:37h, 17 March 2017 Reply

    This music is the soundtrack of my college days. Even now, working on writing projects.

  • Osiris
    Posted at 20:18h, 17 March 2017 Reply

    many thanks for this great drop nikos – appreciated man!

  • Angelos
    Posted at 11:39h, 18 March 2017 Reply

    Great album!

  • Gary
    Posted at 21:33h, 18 March 2017 Reply

    Killer. Thanx a lot

  • Stellan
    Posted at 21:47h, 18 March 2017 Reply

    Respect. Amazing Blog Nikos.

  • Winston
    Posted at 02:50h, 19 March 2017 Reply

    Jazz sugar

  • Sebastian
    Posted at 11:05h, 19 March 2017 Reply

    Magic player, magic soul. One of the greatest.

  • Marcus Berg
    Posted at 22:31h, 19 March 2017 Reply

    Top class.

  • Gene
    Posted at 22:39h, 19 March 2017 Reply

    What happened to our music ???? Jesus! This is so good

  • Randy King
    Posted at 22:41h, 19 March 2017 Reply

    Amen to that. Amazing musicians all of them. And they must’ve been doing it for love of music not for the money.

  • Martha
    Posted at 22:47h, 19 March 2017 Reply

    Randy, when music was music. Blessings to all. Such a great site.

  • Mary Anne
    Posted at 22:59h, 21 March 2017 Reply

    he touched my deepest heart. Love this kind of music.

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