Record Collector (magazine) (p.104) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[I]t's the supremely soulful tone of his saxophone playing and Bob James' imaginative arrangements that impress most of all..."
Personnel: Grover Washington (alto & tenor saxophones); Bob James (arranger, conductor, electric piano); Hilda Harris, Marilyn Jackson, Maretha Stewart, Tasha Thomas (vocals); Don Ashworth (baritone saxophone); Eugene Young (trumpet, flugelhorn); Thad Jones (trumpet, French horn); Wayne Andre (trombone); Julius Brand, Paul Gershman, Julius Held, Leo Kahn, Harry Katzman, Raoul Poliakin, Max Pollikoff, Paul Winter (violin); Maurice Brown, Charles McCracken, Alan Shulman, Anthony Sophos (cello); Richard Tee (organ); Eric Gale (guitar); Ron Carter (bass); Idris Muhammad (drums); Airto Moreira (percussion).
Producer: Creed Taylor.
Reissue producers: Bob Margouleff, Brant Biles.
Recorded at Van Gelder Studios, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey in September 1971. Originally released on Kudu (03) on January 25, 1972.
Adored by many--his record sales have been consistently impressive--but criticized by jazz purists, Grover Washington, Jr. is one of the most well-known saxophonists of his generation, strongly influencing players such as Kenny G., George Howard, Najee, and others. His music spearheaded the quiet storm and smooth jazz trends in jazz radio.
Still not enough people realize just what a revolutionary album INNER CITY BLUES is. Originally, this was supposed to be a Hank Crawford session but since the alto saxophonist couldn't make the date, Grover Washington Jr. got the green light from producer Creed Taylor to take his place. Washington's hearty, smoothly melodious but emotional sax meshes wonderfully with a veritable who's-who of fusion and what later came to be known as crossover jazz--Bob James and Richard Tee on keyboards, Eric Gale on guitar, and master jazz-funk drummer Idris Muhammad. INNER CITY BLUES is a near-idea combination of sophistication and soulfulness, of directness and classy musicianship.