Saturday, February 28, 2009

Twenty five albums that shaped me, tenor sax division

Grover Washington Jr. is the man I wanted to emulate when I decided to take up the saxophone in the 7th grade. You see, I was already a fanatic about basketball, and if ever basketball has a soundtrack in my mind, it's Grover's Mister Magic. Back in the seventies, there was no state basketball championship in California, so the highest goal a Los Angeles high school basketball player could aspire to was to play for the city championship at Pauley Pavilion on the campus of UCLA. The very first LA City Championship I went to was so exciting, and when the teams, Crenshaw and Fremont, first broke out of the locker room, they came out to Mister Magic. Perfect! Plus, anyone who wore a beard was high up on the cool list in my books.

Ronnie Laws had a fantastic run of LPs, and did "Friends and Strangers" in 1976. This was right around the time I learned to drive.

Pharoah Sanders hooked up with Norman Connors to make "Love will find a way." Pharoah remade a Connors favorite "The Creator has a Master Plan" and Phyllis Hyman joined him in a romantic ballad, "Love is here." I wrote an award winning descriptive essay of the album cover for a Contemporary Composition class during my senior year

John Klemmer did a series of LPs beginning with "Touch" that were tailor-made for LAs emerging "smooth jazz" FM radio stations such as KJLH and the WAVE.

And, of course, all roads lead to Coltrane.
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