Grover Washington, Jr. mural at North Broad Street in Philadelphia.
Here begins the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God.[fn1]
In the book of the prophet Isaiah, God said, “Look, I am sending my messenger before you, and he will prepare your way.[fn2]
He is a voice shouting in the wilderness: `Prepare a pathway for the Lord’s coming! Make a straight road for him!’[fn3] “
Mark 1: 1-3
I sat reflecting on August Wilson’s play: Joe Turners Come and Gone, looked over at my husband and smiled because I notice lately that he has been a voracious reader and glued to the computer composing some powerful and poignant posts like: The Power of Love which dealt with reconciliation, love and forgiveness. After going to the theatre yesterday evening and remembering Ricky’s prose, it sunk into my brain, A Brother With A Word! That was the phrase that spilled out of my mouth as Ricky and I sailed down 264’s HOV Lane. This morning we whizzed past the bumper to bumper traffic and I thought about how I really want to acknowledge men who’s work clearly signals for me that theirs’ is a distinct voice in the wilderness. This living can be such a chilling experience, but it doesn’t necessarily remain that way! Thank God! But the wilderness experience can be harsh and deadly to the spirit and the body!
My husband’s, August Wilson’s and other voices are heard and appreciated; they are the John The Baptists’ in our midst, telling through their actions-their anointed works and words that the incarnate, the deity is here and for those of us that aren’t aware to make way in our lives, hearts, and endeavors for the emancipating and mighty presence of God. Yes, a new day is dawning! And it is apparent that God is at the helm! I do appreciate their strength, love and conviction.
In the months days and weeks to come I will feature several outstanding men ( in my perspective) which are impacting or have influenced some aspect of our lives for the better. No they may not all declare their faith though a streaming banner or megaphones but through their life’s work and passions. We clearly realize, they believe in the power of God who does choose in His infinite wisdom and time to rectify wrongs, be ever present to usher them through the strife and hardships, provide a restorative healing that exhibits a love divine and more importantly to love them in spite of their struggles. God holds no fault with them who have a repenting spirit. They are Ministers, Poets, Teachers, Authors, Writers, Fathers, Artist, Lovers, Musicians, Emancipated, Counselors, Blue Collar and No Collar Fellas’ and Every Day working men!
Grover Washington, Jr.
Soul-jazz Saxophonist, Composer and Instrumentalist
Sax (Tenor), Sax (Soprano), Sax (Alto)
December 12, 1943 – 17 December 17,1999
Pieces Of A Dream Performing with Grover
Mr . Magic- Grover’s Signature Song
A Tribute to Grover from Sweet Daddy Bugg
So let’s celebrate A Brother With A Word –The Wonderful “Mr. Magic”, the man that started smooth jazz sounds before there was such a phrase! The awesome Grover Washington Jr. was the pride not only of Philadelphia, PA. , but of Buffalo, New York’. He’s our native son! Buffalonians love Grover! Many have tried to define his music and still remain challeneged: soul-fusion, funk jazz, classic jazz with soul, whatever and however you wish to lable his music, once introduced to Grover, you just know Grover’s distinct sound and flavor.
Many imitate but have yet to duplicate this quintessential renaissance musical genius. Truly he’d pack the venues out and the crows and audiences would go up in smoke; his music would ignite the atmosphere and celebration would erupt. The outdoor summer concerts or the jazz clubs took you to another musical dimension! To be in his presence was electric!
Grover’s musical ability as an instrumentalist and composer defy description and generalizations. His work is outstanding.
I am confident that Grover experienced sheer joy being able to convey his emotions into music,his saxophones did the speaking.
Grover was a nurturing spirit. How do I know? Well friends I witnessed many of his unselfish acts and demeanor first hand when I visited from Howard University and would catch the train for many weekend visits to see my cousin and family. He was so down to earth, he’d answer the house phone and be interested in what was concerning me and those around him. Selfish and boastful were foreign characteristics for him. Humility was his daily garb. Laughter, generosity and pleasantness were his companions.
Grover Washington, Jr. was a wonderful atmosphere changer, you were glad to be in his midst. I witnessed the tons of mail from correctional facilities for him. He‘d review many musical scores and letters that inmates and other fans would send, he reply with a sincere critique in a letter encouraging them to study and trust in their dreams. Visiting the local public high schools to musically accompanying the students was right up his alley. he loved the students and had great pride in their accomplishments and eagerness for learning. He’d carve out time for his family, he’d dream bigger dreams and help aspiring young musicians make their mark! Pieces of A Dream was the birth of his vision and ultimately he’d return to his first love musically and record classical music in Aria . Oh he lived the way he wanted, with passion and zeal and would not succumb to the status quo. Need a spiritual lift? Well reach for and enjoy Grover’s music. Come on and celebrate with joyful praise that indeed this was everyone’s brother across the globe who had a musical word and made an impact like no other! He had a sweet spirit and an infectious smile.
Without a doubt music was his mouthpiece, his expressions about faith, reverence for God’s love, joy of life, and personal sorrow all which resonated in his heartfelt soulful music. Thank you Grover, thank you for your music which shouts in the wilderness!
Shared With Great Joy,
Linda Mose Meadows, Author
The Blessedness of Believing