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Subject: Archiv: Grover Washington Jr., Dec. 17, 1999

Jazz musician
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Date Posted: Tuesday, December 17, 01:44:19pm

By Jessica Graham
December 18, 1999 | 5:00am

Pop-jazz saxophone pioneer Grover Washington Jr. died suddenly last night from an apparent heart attack after taping a performance at CBS studios in Manhattan.
He had turned 56 last Sunday.

Washington collapsed in a dressing room around 6:30 p.m. after taping four songs for an “Early Show” segment scheduled to air today, officials said. He was pronounced dead at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital.

“His sudden death is a total shock,” said Washington’s manager, Paul Silverthorn, who was with the jazz great in his final hours.

The Grammy-award winning artist was hailed as one of the first sax players to marry jazz with R&B and bring it to a wider audience — especially with his 1980 hit single “Just the Two of Us.”

“I don’t want to be hemmed in by one musical category,” he once told the Washington Post. “I want to be able to visit any genre and converse there with my horn.”

Born in Buffalo to a gospel-singer mother and a sax-player father, Washington began studying saxophone at age 10.
One of his early accomplishments came in 1971 with Johnny “Hammond” Smith on “Breakout.”

But his real rise to fame was through a fluke — when he filled in for saxophonist Hank Crawford, who couldn’t make a studio date at the last minute. The recording became Washington’s first solo album “Inner City Blues,” and it was a smashing success.

His breezy pop-jazz blend was criticized by jazz purists, but his style came to be a contemporary standard of the ’70s and ’80s — and influenced the likes of Kenny G.
One of Washington’s biggest fans was in the White House — he played at President Clinton’s 50th birthday celebration at Radio City Music Hall in 1996.

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"Just the Two of Us "Grover Washington Jr. (feat. Bill Withers)Tuesday, December 17, 01:45:52pm

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