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Grover Washington, Jr., has long been one of the leaders in what could be called rhythm & jazz, essentially R&B-influenced jazz. Winelight is one of his finest albums, and not primarily because of the Bill Withers hit "Just the Two of Us." It is the five instrumentals that find Washington (on soprano, alto, and tenor) really stretching out. If he had been only interested in sales, Washington's solos could have been half as long and he would have stuck closely to the melody. Instead he really pushes himself on some of these selections, particularly the title cut. A memorable set of high-quality and danceable soul-jazz.
This is one of Grover Washington, Jr.'s best-loved recordings and considered a classic of r&bish jazz. All four songs (which includes Billy Strayhorn's "Passion Flower") are quite enjoyable but it is "Mister Magic" that really caught on as a major hit. Bob James provided the colorful if somewhat commercial arrangements, there are spots for guitarist Eric Gale, and Washington (mostly on tenor and soprano) is heard in particularly creative form. Highly recommended.(Scott Yanow - AllMusic Guide)
Maturity for jazzmen has often been equated with the ability to speak passionately in a ballad setting and in this regard Washington never flags from his responsibilities. Both “Don’t Explain” and “Easy Living” find the saxophonist in peak form. His tone is lush and fervent, but never too sweet or saccharine. By contrast, funkier numbers like “Masterpiece” and “Taurian Matador” feature Washington at his soulful best in a style that has likely influenced scores of “lite jazz” saxophonists over the years but has never sounded quite as convincing in anyone’s hands but this master.( Andrew Hovan - allaboutjazz.com )