Grover Live

“Sassy Stew”

(Lightyear Entertainment)

A decade ago, producer Jason Miles released Grover Live, a 1997 concert recording of the late Grover Washington Jr. captured at The Paramount Center for the Arts in Peekskill, New York. Now that recording is receiving the deluxe reissue treatment, as Lightyear Entertainment releases a two-LP, gold-colored-vinyl set. Recorded two years prior to his passing, the album finds the then-53-year-old saxophonist in full command of his instruments, as he switches among tenor, soprano, alto and baritone horns on a set of classics from his songbook. Washington’s lean septet supplies the grooves on songs spanning his nearly 25-year discography, including favorites such as “Winelight,” “Black Frost,” “Just the Two of Us,” and, encompassing all of Side 4, expansive takes on “Let It Flow (for Dr. J)” and “Mr. Magic.” He also revisits the sultry “Sassy Stew,” from his hit 1984 recording Inside Moves, his tenor sax dancing atop the funky foundations of bassist Gerald Veasley, drummer Steven Wolf and percussionist Pablo Batista. “‘Sassy Stew,’ ladies and gentlemen, thank you,” says the ever-engaging frontman at song’s end. And he urges a hand for the band, whom he jokingly calls “the orchestra.” Hearing Washington address the crowd, here and throughout the album, brings back affectionate memories of the saxophonist, who died in 1999.

Purchase Album:

The Authoritative Voice in Jazz