This one is a great throwback on a Thursday if we ever saw it. Not only did Grover Washington, Jr. have some of the breaks we were excited to get doubles of (finding two copies of “Hydra” was always a joy), we just always felt that all those Kudu covers and label were so damn cool. From the glossy LPs to the players, we have been hooked from the start. Those who know the mystique of the CTI/ Kudu labels will feel what we are saying. The other thing that is so fantastic is that The Count Basie Theater in Red Bank, NJ hits close to home here at Flea Market Funk. We were (many years ago) a huge part of the Red Bank arts and culture community, and had the pleasure of not just seeing shows at the storied institution, but playing there as well.
This recording was from October 24th, 1992, when Grover Washington, Jr. was playing a gig at the venue. For a week leading up to the event, Washington had been doing interviews in preparation and promotion for shows in the Tri-State area. A young saxophone player named Benny Barksdale reached out to Washington. Barksdale was a definite fan and a professional musician who was a member of The Dells and an in demand session player. Mr. Magic invited Benny to come meet him before the show in Red Bank. The two hit it off, and Washington would call Barksdale up to perform with the band during the show on his favorite track (and let’s face it, one of Washington’s biggest songs) “Mister. Magic”. The following recording was captured that night and Barksdale’s extended solo was one for the books. Who says you can’t meet and perform with your heroes? This recording is living proof. So sit back and listen to these two pros exchange choruses and enjoy a rendition of “Mister. Magic”, only performed once by these two in Red Bank. Check out the stream below and get more information on Society Hill Records after the stream.