Throwback: Grover Washington Jr.-Hydra
Grover Washington Jr.’s “Hydra” epitomized a high point of instrumental soul-jazz. The saxophonist and songwriter started his recording career in 1972 with his sound comprised of both genres. Feels So Good was his fifth album and like Mister Magic that was also released in 1975 they both did well commercially and conveyed Washington’s mastery of the groove. Purists were critical of Washington because they knew he was nurtured on jazz pioneers like Fletcher Henderson but “Hydra” reflected James Brown’s influence on music after the ’60s. Louis Johnson’s bass and Ralph McDonald’s drums from “Hydra” would later infuse hundreds of hip-hop songs. Grover Washington Jr. is credited by the music industry as a pioneer of smooth jazz but his music was really a modern progression towards the act of making people move with the roots of improvisation and the comfort of repetition.