To Grover, With Love
Jason Miles shows his appreciation for the highly respected saxophonist Grover Washington with this excellent CD titled To Grover, With Love. This is not your ordinary tribute CD filled with mere exercises in nostalgia, but one filled with cutting-edge, contemporary performances by flutist Herbie Mann and guitarist Russ Freeman, among others. Miles has selected 13 songs, including several of Grover Washington's best-known songs, and added solo showcases that flow smoothly with endless nuances of color and emotion. These versions do full justice to Grover's timeless compositions and songs by Marvin Gaye ("Inner City Blues") and Bill Withers ("Just the Two of Us" and "Summer Chill"). The CD itself is the centerpiece since each track exhibits such high standards of musicianship from start to finish. From the guitar lead of Russ Freeman on "East River Drive" to the soulful sax wailings, this CD dusts off, shakes down, and hands you some searing soul, scorching riffs, and serious funk. The instrumental arrangement that is clearly a refreshing change is Herbie Mann's flute playing that Miles substituted as lead instrument on the Washington saxophone legacy "Mr. Magic." To Grover, With Love clearly ranks among Miles' best tributes that include his phenomenal hits that showcased the music of Wayne Shorter and Joe Zawinul on The Music of Weather Report and Ivan Lins' compositions on A Love Affair: The Music of Ivan Lins.