At the start of April 1973, Grover Washington had his first two albums behind him, and he was settling into the role of not just a leader but also a soul-jazz trend-setter. He was out on the road rehearsing and performing for his upcoming appearance at the 20th Anniversary Newport Jazz Festival. The band spent 6 nights from April 3rd-8th at the Jazz Workshop at 733 Boylston St in Boston, with 2 shows per night on some days.

The first night, April 3rd, the late performance was broadcast live by WBCN-FM, 104.1 Boston [1]WBCN also known as the Boston Tea Party station or Boston Concert Network has it’s own story and feature film. Details https://theamericanrevolution.fm/.

I sent this set over to Kim Paris at the FM Radio Archive [2]https://archive.org/details/grover-washington-jr.-jazz-workshop-wbcn, Press play and read on. Kim pointed out that this was an early appearance of Charles Fambrough on bass, which indeed it is. Thanks to Kim for the work in preserving these historic live sets.

There are two tracks in this set that are unknown, or Jam sessions can you name them? Leave a comment below. Tracks can be downloaded directly from the playlist.

Washington had literally fallen into his first leader album when Hank Crawford didn’t show for a recording session and Creed asked Grover to sub for Hank. I’ve written about that before [3]https://www.ctproduced.com/happy-born-day-grover-washington-jr/, that album was “Inner City Blues”. Tracks in this live set came from the follow-up, 1972 album “All the Kings Horses”.

Grover had spent much of March 1973 Rudy Van Gelder’s Englewood Cliffs Studio recording his double album masterpiece “Soul Box” [4]https://www.discogs.com/master/162784-Grover-Washington-Jr-Soul-Box. “Soul Box” was perhaps the most complete “new sound of CTI” album that Taylor had recorded to that point.

No expense sparred in studio time, a full “CTI orchestra” plus key sidemen including but not limited to Randy Brecker, Jon Faddis, George Marge (f,picc,oboe); Hubert Laws (f,picc); Bob James (p,el-p,arr,cond); Richard Tee (org); Jay Berliner (g); Ron Carter (b,arco b,el-b); Idris Muhammad (d); Airto (Moreira); Billy Cobham; and Ralph MacDonald (perc). Taylor also didn’t hold back on packaging and marketing, but he did hold back the release date.

“Soul Box” was timed for release just before the 20th Anniversary Newport Festival “Soul Sessions”. The event would be at Shea Stadium on July 3rd 1973. Washington would be a key part of the bill that night with Stevie Wonder, Roberta Flack, the Staple Singers and Ramsey Lewis.

Washington would also appear on the July 4th Singer Bowl (Louis Armstrong Stadium, Flushing). 1 p.m.: Tribute to Louis Armstrong, with Count Basie. Dave & Darius Brubeck, Cab Calloway, Cozy Cole, Lock­jaw Davis. Wild Bill Davison. Vic Dickenson. Roy Eldridge Quintet, Stan Getz. Dizzy Gillespie, Earl Hines. Freddie Hubbard. Helen Humes, Elvin Jones. Gene Krupa, Howard McGhee, Turk Murphy. Sam Rivers, Anita O’Day, Archie Shepp, Sun Ra, Clark Terry, Sarah Vaughan, Billy Taylor. Grover Washington and many others.

“Soul Box” would enter the popular album charts on July 21st

Grover Washington Jr and the full CTI All-Stars would be back in Boston in August for an All-Stars performance, Washington would be back at the Jazz workshop from Sept. 10-16. 1963. Grover Washington, Jr. passed away December 17, 1999, aged just 56. He was with Kudu Records from the start until the end recording on the only CD ever originally issued for the label, “Thus Spoke Z – Evolution” [5]https://www.discogs.com/master/1467562-Thus-Spoke-Z-Evolution-Acid-Jazz.

UPDATES: March 11th, 2024 12:30pm completed summary paragraph, thanks to Dan Steele on the “all-things-cti-and-kudu-jazz-thread” on forums.stevehoffman.tv for the heads-up.

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