Thursday, April 16, 2009

CD of the Day - "Grover Washington, Jr.: Feels So Good"

CD of the Day
Grover Washington, Jr. : "Feels So Good" (Kudu/Verve) 1975/2008

A digipack CD reissue supervised by Harry Weinger for the Verve "Originals" series, it's another storming round up of quality grooves for your consumption. Cut at Van Gelder Studio, on May & July 1975, while "Mister Magic" (recorded in November 74 and released in February 75) was still exploding in the airwaves and dancefloors, the fifth and much-sampled album that Grover recorded for Creed Taylor's Kudu label yielded the hit "It Feels So Good", a massive tune (with the leader on tenor) written by Ralph MacDonald & Bill Salter - not coincidently, the same composers of "Mister Magic," a song later covered by Esther Phillips (also for Kudu, on "What A Diff'rence A Day Makes," her best-selling album ever) and Tony Bennett.
"Feels So Good" came out on October 15, 1975, but its title track shall not be mistaken with the mellower "Feels So Good" smash that Chuck Mangione would write around two years later.
To enjoy Grover's own "Moonstreams" (featuring, besides Grover's silky soprano sax, Eric Gale's sensual guitar and Sidney Weinberg's English horn on an exquisite Bob James score), make yourself a nice drink and sit back and check out some seriously sexy music coming at ya.
The cinematic "The Sea Lion" is typical of James, reminiscent of "The Golden Apple". The two other extended funky originals by Grover, "Knucklehead" and "Hydra" are powerful too. Say thanx to people like bassists Louis Johnson & Gary King, drummers Kenneth "Spider Webb" Rice (his only date ever for Creed Taylor - amazing, hum?), Steve Gadd & Jimmy Madison, plus the men (Randy Brecker, Jon Faddis, John Frosk, Barry Rogers, among others) on the smokin' horn section. I know I did it.
Oh, "Feels So Good" reached #1 in both the Jazz and Black Charts in Billboard, peaking # 10 among the Pop Albums, while "The Sea Lion" peaked at #1 in the Disco Singles chart, something unpredictable for such an intrincate track.
By now, three other Grover's albums for Kudu ("Inner City Blues," "All The King's Horses" and "Soul Box") have been already revived on the "Originals" series. So, let's hope Verve could also reissue "Mister Magic," "A Secret Place" and "Live at the Bijou" in a near future.

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