Grover Washington Jr.
Washington, 39, is in a position familiar to previous jazz musicians who have gone from obscure artistry to commercialism. Washington’s 1980 album Winelight topped the jazz LP charts for 31 weeks, crossed over to the pop Top 5 and made the inventive saxophonist a big-name star. This is his second album since, and it is more pop than jazz, taking wing only in occasional bursts from Washington that break out of a staid set of arrangements. His guest artists seem less fettered. Patti LaBelle sings the title tune (a new one by Cynthia Biggs and Dexter Wansel, not the old hit by Tony Bennett). Bobby McFerrin sings Things Are Getting Better with typical élan, and the backup musicians include guitarists Lee Ritenour and Eric Gale, keyboardist Richard Tee and drummer Darryl Washington, Grover’s brother.