In the year before Grover Washington, Jr. made his debut album as a leader (Inner City Blues), the 27-year-old saxophonist played on his very first commercial recording sessions as a sideman for Prestige Records, between September 17, 1970 and August 16, 1971. Despite being one of the most influential and widely imitated instrumentalists of modern times, Grover's consummate abilities as a jazz improviser were most often underestimated and overlooked for the smooth sounds on his major hit records such as "Mister Magic" and "Just the Two of Us," which made him a household name.
His prodigious straight-ahead jazz chops are very much in evidence on these earliest "soul-jazz" forays with groups led by Charles Earland, Boogaloo Joe Jones, Johnny "Hammond" Smith, and Leon Spencer. Especially notable here are Grover's thoughtful and relaxed playing on "Between the Sheets," a walking blues with Smith, and several fiery funk grooves with Jones.
with Charles Earland, "Boogaloo" Joe Jones, Virgil Jones, Johnny "Hammond" Smith, Leon Spencer, Jr., Melvin Sparks, Idris Muhammad, Bernard Purdie