Grover Washington Jr.

Grover Washington Jr.

Jazz Saxophone
BMHOF Class of 1999
 

Grover was a jazz-funk/soul-jazz saxophonist who grew up on the East Side of Buffalo, NY. As a youngster he would sneak in to the Colored Musicians Club to listen to the music. His early influences were local musicians James “Graff” Young and Elvin “Shep” Shepherd, who was his sax and music theory teacher.
 
Washington released his first major album “Inner City Blues” in 1972, which brought him national attention. He won a Grammy Award for his 1980 album “Winelight” and another for his collaboration with singer Bill Withers on the song “Just the Two of Us”.
 
Although he lived in Philadelphia, Grover stated that his roots remained in his hometown, “Buffalo provided a warm, creative atmosphere for me and my family. We've all been taught to share the experience of music. That’s what I learned in Buffalo and I’ll never forget it.”
 
One of his career highlights included playing at President Bill Clinton’s 50th Birthday Celebration in Radio City Music Hall in 1996. He also played in a jazz and blues jam at The White House in 1993. Members included Grover, President Clinton, Herbie Hancock and Wynton Marsalis.
 
On December 17, 1999, five days after his 56th birthday, Grover died of a heart attach after performing four songs for CBS’s “The Saturday Early Show”.
 
Grover lives on in his music and the charities he founded.

​​Back - 1999