December is Grover Washington, Jr. Month

Grover Washington, Jr.

To me, December is always Grover Washington, Jr. month. He was born in December and passed away in December. 

Grover is a contemporary jazz legend. He was a pioneer in the soul-jazz movement. I can hear his distinctive sound on any recording. There has been no one like him.

Let’s celebrate his legacy this month. Share your thoughts on Grover. Post a comment here about your favorite recordings, concert memories, etc. Or start this going on Twitter – #GroverWashingtonJrMonth. I’ll be sharing too through December 17, when he suddenly left us.

Remembering Chuck Loeb

Contemporary jazz lost one of its great contributors on July 31, 2017 when Chuck Loeb passed away. Loeb had been on the scene for decades and was one of those guys who could compose and produce just as well as he could play guitar. Whenever I saw his name on the credits of a song, I knew it had a higher chance of being something I’d enjoy.  It would be quality.

Chuck Loeb

The number of contemporary jazz recordings he’s been a part of must be in the hundreds. I remember a time in the ’90s when every CD that came to the radio station was produced by either Loeb or Paul Brown. In addition to a longtime solo career and many collaborations, he worked with Stan Getz and played with bands like Steps Ahead, Metro and Fourplay.  The latter posted: “We, The Fourplay family, salute our fallen hero Chuck Loeb … Our band member, our dear friend, our soulmate, our musical composer, an incredible human being, husband and father. Thank you for sharing your love, life and music with us.”

Chuck had battled cancer for several years. He is survived by his wife Carmen Cuesta Loeb and daughters Lizzy and Christina.

Freddie Hubbard Has Died

It seems like a musician that had an impact on the style I enjoy listening to today always dies around the Christmas holiday. This year, it’s Freddie Hubbard. He passed away today after suffering a heart attack in late November. He played with legends John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, and Art Blakey. He was a star on the CTI label in the early 70s – Red Clay was the first recording he did for the label. He jammed with the VSOP (Very Special One-Time Performance) band of Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Tony Williams, and Ron Carter in 1977.

Freddie from the 1987 Mt. Fuji Jazz Festival – with James Spaulding, alto sax; Renee Rosnes, piano; Kenny Davis, bass; Ralph Peterson, drums: