One of the most electrified of Grover Washington, Jr.'s albums, this Columbia set features the popular saxophonist (who plays soprano, alto and tenor) joined by oversized rhythm sections and plenty of keyboards on a variety of funky and danceable material.
Eddie Henderson's lovely flugelhorn colors the opening track, "E Preciso Perdoar (One Must Forgive)," setting the mood for a very mellow set. Washington, accompanied by six pieces, plays the standards straighter than Johnny Mathis sings them; everything is ratcheted down '40s-ish/'50s-ish cozy nightclub style.
Grover Washington, Jr.'s first album in three years (and debut for Columbia) did not yield any major hits but found him playing in prime form. Switching between his distinctive soprano, alto and tenor, Washington is joined by bassist-producer Marcus Miller, a large rhythm section and guest vocalists B.B. King ("Caught A Touch Of Your Love") and Jean Carne (on two songs). Highlights include "Strawberry Moon," "The Look Of Love," "Maddie's Blues" and "Summer Nights."
"Skylarkin'" was jazz saxophonist, Grover Washington Jr's final release with Motown Records. The session group featured well respected musicians who are legends today….Marcus Miller on bass, Eric Gale on guitar, Steve Gadd on drums, and Richard Tee on piano and keyboards. The album also featured Grover Washington Jr's signature sound that transcended various musical genres. His phrasing and harmonic sound has been an influence that is still prevalent today. Grover Washington Jr's music elevates the spirit with cool melodies and rhythms that shine with each composition.
This legend of urban jazz-funk left way too soon at age 56, but listeners can at least take heart in the fact that before he departed, he lived out a career-long dream by recording an album pairing his inimitable saxophone style with classic opera pieces. While the album may hit many of his fans as an unexpected departure, it actually completes a circle that began when Washington first studied music – classical music – at Buffalo's Wurlitzer School of Music. Even as he inspired a generation of saxmen with his amazing blend of jazz and soul, his first love remained classical music. Performing here on soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone saxes, he draws upon his artistry as a melodist to capture the emotional spirit of a dozen of opera's most beautiful arias.