Tunes on Tuesday: Mister Magic

Why this tune?

This week’s tune is a classic blend of soul, R&B and jazz that reached its peak of popularity in the 1970s. The tune is most closely associated with Grover Washington, Jr, whose recording hit the Top 100 pop and R&B charts in 1975.

There aren’t that many recordings of “Mister Magic,” but it remains a popular tune at live gigs and jam sessions. It’s relatively easy to play and offers soloists lots of space to stretch out. I played it a few months ago with a band on St. Croix, in a show that included jazz and pop tunes and some reggae numbers.

Grover Washington’s opening vamp has also shown up as a sample on a bunch of rap recordings, like “Don’t Ya Sleep” by Marky Mark

You might think of “Mister Magic” as an instrumental piece thanks to Grover Washington’s recording. Ralph MacDonald and William Salter wrote lyrics as well, recorded first by Roberta Flack, and later by Amy Winehouse.

I have “Mister Magic” on the set list for another gig on St. Croix later this month.

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Complete piano track

Grover Washington, Jr.

Roberta Flack

Published by Oren Levine

Jazz pianist and composer from Washington, DC. Also a digital product and technology consultant currently working with nonprofit cllients

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