Soul Box

Soul Box

by Grover Washington Jr.


The early work of alto saxophonist and composer Grover Washington, Jr. is a rare and beautiful thing to behold. His entire Kudu period, marked by the albums Inner City Blues, All the King's Horses, Soul Box, Mister Magic, and Feels So Good, is brilliant, solid urban groove jazz played with grace, mean chops, and slippery funkiness. Soul Box, a double LP recorded in 1973, has Creed Taylor's production enhanced by a symphony orchestra and full-blown jazz band arranged and conducted by Bob James. Some of the session men include Ron Carter, Billy Cobham, Eric Gale, Idris Muhammad, Airto, and Richard Tee. Soul Box only contains seven cuts. Among them are truly innovative reads of Billy Cobham's "Taurian Matador," Stevie Wonder's "You Are the Sunshine of My Life," a side-long jam on Marvin Gaye's "Trouble Man" (the album's centerpiece and masterpiece), and the deep funk of Norman Whitfield's "Masterpiece." "Trouble Man," however, is the cut on which all the contradictions of the session come to bear and are resolved due in large part to Washington's deeply lyrical improvising and James' ability to layer an orchestra into a groove. There are cadenzas written in after choruses that bring the orchestra in to accent the sketchy funk in the tune and bring out its deep blue hues. When Washington gets to the front of it all, he lets go like he's crying from the heart. On other tracks, the orchestra adds the right drama or sweetness -- as it does on Wonder's cut -- but Washington makes them grittier, with soloing that sidles up to the melody before reinventing it. For its length, Soul Box is a modern classic for its instrumental and arrangement invention and for its deeply emotional bounty.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/21/2008
Label: Grp Records
UPC: 0602517808126
catalogNumber: 001195702

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Grover Washington   Primary Artist,Alto Saxophone,Soprano Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Ron Carter   Bass,Electric Bass
Jon Faddis   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Bob James   Piano,Electric Piano
Hubert Laws   Flute,Piccolo,Woodwind
Jay Berliner   Guitar
Ralph MacDonald   Percussion
David Nadien   Violin
Wayne Andre   Trombone
Seymour Barab   Cello
Randy Brecker   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Alfred Brown   Viola
Billy Cobham   Drums
Harry Cykman   Violin
Max Ellen   Violin
Harvey Estrin   Flute,Piccolo,Recorder,Woodwind
Paul Faulise   Bass Trombone
John Frosk   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Eric Gale   Guitar
Paul Gershman   Violin
Eileen Gilbert   Vocals
Bernie Glow   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Emanuel Green   Violin
Harry Lookofsky   Violin
Idris Muhammad   Drums
Theodore Israel   Viola
Harold Kohon   Violin
Phil Kraus   Percussion
Charles Libove   Violin
Donald MacCourt   Bassoon,Woodwind
George Marge   Flute,Oboe,Piccolo,Woodwind
Barbara Massey   Vocals
Charles McCracken   Cello
Gene Orloff   Violin
Romeo Penque   Clarinet,Flute,Bass Clarinet,English Horn,Oboe,Piccolo,Woodwind
Alan Raph   Bass Trombone
George Ricci   Cello
Tony Studd   Bass Trombone
Richard Tee   Organ
Brooks Tillotson   French Horn
Wally Kane   Clarinet,Flute,Contrabass Clarinet,Bass Saxophone,Woodwind
Bernard Thacker   Vocals
Emanuel Vardi   Viola
Dave Friedman   Percussion
Peter Gordon   French Horn
Bill Eaton   Vocals
Airto   Percussion
Jim Buffington   French Horn
Bob James & Creations   Piano,Conductor,Electric Piano
Elliot Rosoff   Violin
Maeretha Stewart   Vocals
Santo Russo   Trombone
Randolph Peyton   Vocals
Bernard Thacker   Vocals
Joe Malin   Violin

Technical Credits

Marvin Gaye   Composer
Billie Holiday   Composer
Rudy Van Gelder   Engineer
Porter Grainger   Composer
Arthur Herzog   Composer
Ralph Rainger   Composer
Leo Robin   Composer
Creed Taylor   Producer,Audio Production
Norman Whitfield   Composer
Stevie Wonder   Composer
Bob Ciano   Cover Design
Hollis King   Art Direction
Everett Robbins   Composer
David A. Leffel   Cover Painting
Bob James & Creations   Arranger
Harry Winger   Reissue Producer

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Soul Box 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've been waiting for years for this to be available on CD. I can't wait to hear the top to bottom progression of strings on Masterpiece. This music was ahead of its time.