Grover Washington, Jr. – “Knucklehead”

I love how this classic from Grover Washington Jr. feels like the ending credits music to the most righteous Blaxploitation flick ever. That bassline, forreal!

In the ’70s and ’80s saxophonist Grover Washington Jr. was on a tear, crafting a wondrous fusion of jazz, R&B, and funk that was stylish, urbane and inviting. Beginning with 1972’s Inner City Blues (the title track a cover of Marvin Gaye‘s monumental track), Washington and his band were turning heads in jazz circles; in 1975 he blew the doors down with albums Mister Magic and Feels So Good, spectacular records that helped propel Washington and collaborators, including the also-legend Bob James, into the mainstream charts.

I mean really, tracks like “Mr. Magic,” “Winelight,” “Just The Two Of Us” (an amazing partnership with Bill Withers!), “Hydra”? Washington’s got jams for days! His music is a staple of Sunday afternoon barbecues, classic radio, and old heads talking your ear off about what real music is.

“Knucklehead” from Feels So Good is a badass listen. That brilliant bassline should tell you alone (blessed be to Gary King, who kills it!). This listen is the equivalent of an aural strut, feeling endlessly cool with strings descending from the heavens, triumphant horns, and Washington’s excellent sax playing, making for an authoritative, feel-good vibe. It’s a top-notch track from a terrific album.

Rest Easy, Mr. Washington.

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