Yesterday here in Philadelphia there was a special honor tribute to Grover Washington Jr., a great saxophonist who had several hit records. Grover died in 1999 and his band members all reunited yesterday to pay tribute to him. Najee, Gerald Albright and Jean Carn headlined in the tribute and I heard it was a great show (I could not get to see it because I had my own gig to do yesterday). However it did reignite my own personal memories of Grover. On a couple of occasions he got me free tickets to Philadelphia 76ers basketball games. I also got to play with him on several other different occasions including one at the Valley Forge music Center (with a revolving stage). My fondest memory of him was on a very low scale. My regular band then (with my brother Bill Jolly in charge) had a small jazz gig at a place called the Blue Moon here in Philadelphia. Grover, who loved to play, knew that we would be there, but because of his record label contract he couldn’t play at different functions under the name of Grover Washington without his label knowing about it. Grover decided to don a big hat and some shades and came into our gig pretending to be some stranger off the street. It was hilarious because even with the disguise the crowd could tell who he was. We knew he was coming so we acted like we were surprised to see him. He asked us if he could sit in with us, and for the rest of the night we played all kinds of songs (but no Grover Washington tunes so that he would not be in violation of his contract). We had a ball and the crowd loved it. When someone asked if he knew Mister Magic Grover simply said “Never heard it before.” It was funny, but the greatest laughter came when we asked him his name. His response? “Buckshot Lefunk.” It was my brightest memory of Grover and one that I will cherish forever. I hope that his legacy will continue to live on even throughout the newer generations. I thank you for checking out my Daily Thought and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
Grover Washington Jr., brother Bill Jolly and Brett Jolly