Five years ago, jazz producer and arranger Jason Miles released a tribute album in honor of saxophonist Grover Washington, Jr. It was well received, but its shelf life was all too short. A new label has stepped in for the re-release of To Grover, With Love.
Like so many fans around the world, Jason Miles was devastated by the untimely death of Grover Washington, Jr., in 1999. The news hit him particularly hard, for Grover was not only an inspiration, he was also a close friend and collaborator.
So great was Grover Washington, Jr.'s impact that Jason Miles wasted no time in putting together a tribute album; 14 of Grover's best known tunes by more than two dozen top notch contemporary jazz musicians. A daunting task for some, but not for Miles who has since celebrated the music of Miles Davis, Weather Report and Marvin Gaye with all-star tributes.
On To Grover, With Love, Regina Belle sings the Grover Washington, Jr. hit "Just The Two Of Us."
When the album was finished, producer Jason Miles had trouble finding a label that would distribute it. After several rejections, Q Records agreed to release it, but to everyone's surprise, the company went out-of-business a short time later.
Fortunately, Miles had the foresight to buy the master recording. With sole ownership, he was determined to give it wider exposure the second time around.
To Grover, With Love was out-of-print for five years before California-based Artizen Records gave the green light for its re-release.
Now considered a must-have compilation for the serious contemporary jazz fan, To Grover, With Love boasts a lineup of stars worthy of a "smooth jazz" Hall of Fame. It features everyone from Dave Koz and Michael Brecker to Ronnie Laws and Chaka Khan, as well as the album's visionary leader Jason Miles who plays keyboards alongside flautist Herbie Mann on Grover Washington, Jr.'s "Mr. Magic."