Tunes on Tuesday: Mister Magic

Why this tune?

It’s quite an achievement to have your song recorded twice in the same year by major artists. That happened to Ralph MacDonald in 1975 when Grover Washington Jr and Roberta Flack included his “Mister Magic” on their albums. Washington’s version is by far the most popular. I expect Flack’s vocal version was eclipsed by the huge hit title track from her album “Feel Like Makin’ Love.”

“Mister Magic” is still played frequently at jazz gigs and jam sessions, usually drawing on the Grover Washington arrangement. When I play or hear it, I always mention Roberta Flack’s version, and find that in many cases people aren’t aware that the song has lyrics (written by William Salter).

I drew on the Grover Washington recording for my track as well, as a way of celebrating his birthday (December 12). It was another opportunity to experiment with multi-track recording and creating drum tracks.

Hear my version

Tunes On Tuesday Reel

Check out these recordings

Grover Washington, Jr

Roberta Flack

The Philadelphia Experiment (2000): Uri Caine, Christian McBride, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson plus guests

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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