After only a few seconds, 2 Grover, With Love
reminds me how much I miss the late, great innovator and beautiful human being, Grover Washington, Jr. His generous gifts to us, his music, his vision, and his spirit, are as fresh and captivating today as they were three decades ago. Most certainly, that’s because of Grover’s immense talent. Yet today, it is also because of the exciting way in which this new recording eloquently captures these contributions. I am most impressed with the thoughtful, expressive performances and superb production qualities brought to us by Jason Miles. 2 Grover, With Love
was just released in the U.S. on September 30, 2008, but the music is timeless.
This will tell you something about the superior level of musicianship on this album - Jason Miles recorded live at Bennett Studios in New Jersey after only one day of rehearsal. From contemporary jazz’s most innovative artists comes fresh, lettin’ loose, adventurous performances. And, as a matter of fact, recording live is just what Grover Washington, Jr. did on most of his albums.
, Grover was responsible for igniting my enthusiasm for jazz. Totally hooked, I went on to explore Grover’s vast catalog including his CTI and Columbia recordings, which stoked my passion for jazz for the rest of my life. My deep gratitude goes to Jason Miles for recognizing the important legacy of Grover Washington, Jr.
A year after Grover’s death, Jason Miles released To Grover, With Love
in 2000. It received high acclaim and was immensely popular, selling over 100,000 copies. Now, 2 Grover, With Love
invokes the best qualities of those CTI recordings of the ‘70s and ‘80s, adeptly refreshing our memories of some of Grover’s lesser known yet utterly enticing compositions.
On the new CD, the core band includes players who were part of Grover's career: Gerald Veasley on bass, Buddy Williams on drums, and Ralph MacDonald on percussion (who wrote and produced many classic Grover tracks.) Featured guests include sax stars Jay Beckenstein, Najee, Andy Snitzer, and Kim Waters; legendary guitarists Dean Brown and Chuck Loeb; jazz diva Maysa Leak; along with noteworthy newcomer Dominic Farrinacci on horns. Not only producing, Jason Miles brings it on (Hammond B-3 organ, keyboards, synthesizer, and programming) with some of his most outstanding performances ever.
opens the album. The first few phrases from Andy Snitzer’s delicate,
soulful sax immediately transport you into the heart of the Grover vibe. Refreshingly, “
departs from sax as lead instrument, featuring Chuck Loeb’s tender and agile guitar performance. Saxman Najee is warm and eloquent on “Make Love To You”. He pours out this lovely melody with heart and grace.
Together Maysa and Andy Snitzer conjure the most sultry, alluring vocal version of “
Mister Magic” that I have ever heard.
Jason Miles plays old-school keys on “
stepping out with some very supple improvisation.
s moody and provocative trumpet on “Moonstreams” will make you sit up and take notice. This newcomer’s outstanding performance is complemented by Jason Miles’ luscious improvisation on Rhodes and the track’s exquisite arrangement.
I had to check myself – what album was I listening to? It’s as if Andy Snitzer is channeling Grover on this performance of “
Reaching Out.” It’s lilting, free flowing, and an inspired rendition.
You’ll recognize “
once you hear it again – one of Grover’s best songs. Jay Beckenstein does it great justice along with improvisation from the entire band, especially Gerald Veasley’s bass with Williams’ and MacDonald’s percussion, contributing to the gorgeous production.
The Saddest Thing”
is one of my favorite tracks on this album. Here, Kim Waters solos on soprano sax. Dominic Farrinacci’s trumpet is simply delicious throughout. When the band joins the jam, it’s magical.
“Stolen Moments” is as straight ahead as it gets on this album, and nicely done too! Chuck Loeb and Andy Snitzer play it cool while Jason Miles steps out like never before – he’s on fire
! Gerald Veasley brings an excellent soulful bass solo.
I just can’t get enough of this track, with its easy going ways and intoxicating melody. On “To Grover With Love,” Jason Miles and legendary guitarist Dean Brown conjure the spirit, imagination, ingenuity, and humanity of Grover Washington, Jr. What else can I say but…I fell in love! 2 Grover, With Love
is likely to be one of my all time favorite albums and is clearly one of the standout recordings of 2008. This is contemporary jazz at its finest.
Jason Miles first brought this live show to the Berks Jazz Fest Spring of 2008 with his production Celebrating the Music & Life of Grover Washington, Jr.: "To Grover, With Love”
held at the sold-out Sovereign Performing Arts Centre. The band consisted of many of the players on this album, including Buddy Williams, Ralph MacDonald, Chuck Loeb, Maysa, with leader Jason Miles on keyboards.
Coming in October, Jason Miles and friends celebrate the music of 2 Grover, With Love
live, in association with the Grover Washington, Jr. Protect The Dream Foundation.
If you can’t get enough of this recording, see it up close at the 2008 Rehoboth Beach Autumn Jazz Festival, Sunday, October 18th at 1:00 p.m. You have an opportunity to experience this music adventure like it was meant to be – played live, in front of an audience. Along with Jason Miles, the all star band will feature Everette Harp, Kim Waters, Andy Snitzer, Maysa, Chuck Loeb, Gerald Veasley, and Buddy Williams.
2 Grover, With Love
is just the latest in a long line of outstanding recordings from Jason Miles honoring Weather Report, Marvin Gaye, Ivan Lins, and Miles Davis. Check out his new endeavor, Global Noize. For more information, visit www.jasonmilesmusic.com