Cash Box #1 Jazz Albums of 1981

In 1981, Cash Box magazine published a Jazz Album list weekly.  Forty albums were ranked in each chart. Here’s a chart of the #1 jazz albums for 1981:

Week Ending Album Artist(s)
January 3 Winelight Grover Washington, Jr.
January 10
January 17
January 24
January 31
February 7
February 14
February 21
February 28
March 7
March 14
March 21
March 28
April 4
April 11
April 18
April 25
May 2
May 9
May 16
May 23
May 30
June 6
June 13
June 20
June 27
July 4 The Clarke-Duke Project Stanley Clarke
& George Duke
July 11
July 18
July 25
August 1
August 8
August 15 The Man with the Horn Miles Davis
August 22
August 29
September 5
September 12
September 19 Breakin’ Away Al Jarreau
September 26
October 3
October 10
October 17
October 24
October 31
November 7
November 14
November 21
November 28
December 5
December 12
December 19
December 26 The George Benson Collection George Benson

#1 Cash Box Jazz Albums:
1976 · 1977 · 1978 · 1979 · 1980

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Dr. Smooth’s Flashback #13: Elektra/Musician albums 1982

The inspiration for this Flashback is the inner sleeve Elektra/Musician Records used for their releases in May, 1982.

IMG_4447

Playlist:


brownroach

Track 1: “What’s New” by Clifford Brown and Max Roach, from the album Pure Genius, Vol. 1.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Did not chart

puregenius

Produced by Max Roach
Trumpet – Clifford Brown
Tenor Saxophone – Sonny Rollins
Piano – Richard Powell
Bass Violin – George Morrow
Percussion – Max Roach
For more information, click here.

shaw

Track 2: “400 Years Ago Tomorrow” by Woody Shaw, from the album Master of the Art.  

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 42 4

masteroftheart

Produced by Michael Cuscuna
Trumpet, Flugelhorn – Woody Shaw
Trombone – Steve Turre
Piano – Mulgrew Miller
Bass – Stafford James
Drums – Tony Reedus
Vibes – Bobby Hutcherson

For more information, click here.

gale

Track 3: “Blue Horizon” by Eric Gale, from the album Blue Horizon.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 20 16

gale2

Produced by Eric Gale
Lead Guitar – Eric Gale
Drums – Winston Grenman
Rhythm Guitar – Mark Mazur
Percussion – Nasser Nasser
Keyboards – Peter Schott
Bass – Neddy Smith
Drums – Freddie Watts
Flugelhorn – Hugh Masekela

For more information, click here.

sancious

Track 4: “What If?” by David Sancious, from the album The Bridge.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 36 8

sancious

Produced by David Sancious
Piano – David Sancious

For more information, click here.

mcferrin

Track 5: “Dance With Me” by Bobby McFerrin, from the album Bobby McFerrin.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz  41  6

mcf

Produced by Linda Goldstein
Vocals – Bobby McFerrin
Piano & Fender Rhodes – Victor Feldman
Bass – Larry Klein
Acoustic Guitar – Peter Maunu
Drums – John Guerin
Percussion – Kenneth Nash

For more information, click here.

material

Track 6: “Disappearing” by Material, from the album, Memory Serves.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 32 7

material

Produced by Material with Martin Bisi
Guitar – Sonny Sharrock
Alto Saxophone – Henry Threadgill
Cornet – Olu Dara
Drums, Percussion, Guitar – Fred Maher
Bass – Bill Laswell
Synthesizers, Tapes, Radio, Guitar, Drums, Voice – Michael Beinhorn

For more information, click here.

r-2418675-1318765247-jpeg

Track 7: “Sophisticated Yenta” by Red Rodney & Ira Sullivan, from the album Spirit Within.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Did not chart

red

Produced by Mike Berniker
Flugelhorn – Red Rodney
Flugelhorn, Alto Flute, Shaker – Ira Sullivan
Piano – Garry Dial
Drums – Steve Bagby
Bass – Jay Anderson

For more information, click here.

r-1029758-1185903930-jpeg

Track 8: “Simplicidad” by Lee Ritenour, from the album Rio.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 11 33

rio

Produced by Lee Ritenour
Acoustic Guitar – Lee Ritenour
Drums – Paulinho Braga
Bass – Luizao Maia
Rhythm Guitar – Oscar Neves
Keyboards –  Don Grusin
Percussion – Chico Batera, Jose Da Silva, Roberto Pinheiro, Armando Marcal

For more information, click here.

cobham

Track 9: “Chiquita Linda” by Billy Cobham’s Glass Menagerie, from the album Observations &.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 23 13

cobham

Produced by Bill Cobham
Guitar – Dean Brown
Percussion – Bill Cobham
Keyboards – Gil Goldstein
Bass – Tim Landers

For more information, click here.

hubbard

Track 10: “This Is It” by Freddie Hubbard, from the album Ride Like the Wind.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 24 18

fred

Produced by Jeffrey Weber
IMG_006

For more information, click here.

Dr. Smooth’s Flashback #12: Billboard chart of August 8, 1981

Spend an hour remembering some of the most popular jazz of 1981 as listed on the Top 50 Jazz Albums chart in the August 8, 1981 issue of Billboard magazine.

Playlist:


joe sample

#48: “Dream of Dreams” by Joe Sample, from the #48 album of the week, Voices in the Rain. The album was Sample’s fifth “solo” release (and his first on MCA), but he had help from fellow Crusaders Stix Hooper and Wilton Felder. The album debuted on the jazz chart in February of 1981, peaked at #2 in March, and would hang around through the end of August.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 2 30
Billboard 200 65 20
R&B 29 15
1981 Jazz Year End 20

chaka

#43: “Fate” by Chaka Khan, from the #43 album of the week, What Cha’ Gonna Do for Me. This album spent only 8 weeks on the jazz chart during the months of July and August, 1981, peaking at #35 on July 11.  The album is more R&B than jazz, but Khan was supported on this track by several prominent jazz session musicians, including guitarist Hiram Bullock and Richard Tee on Clavinet.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 35 8
Billboard 200 17 18
R&B 3 23

yellowjackets

#39: “Matinee Idol” by Yellowjackets, from the #39 album of the week, Yellowjackets. The lead track from the group’s debut album. This track was released as a 12″ single with the following review blurb on the cover in caps:

“THE YELLOWJACKETS’ ALBUM RANKS AS ONE OF THE FINEST, MOST RADIO-ACCESSIBLE JAZZ-ROCK OFFERINGS OF THE YEAR. GUT REACTION TO THE YELLOWJACKETS PARALLELS THE POWER OF THE CRUSADERS (the good ol’ Crusaders with Larry Carlton, etc.). FEATURED MUSICIANS INCLUDE RUSSELL FERRANTE ON KEYBOARDS, ROBBEN FORD ON GUITAR. A DIGITAL RECORDING, PRODUCED BY TOMMY LiPUMA, YELLOWJACKETS FLOATS LIKE A BUTTERFLY, STINGS LIKE A BEE, AND SOUNDS LIKE A HORNETS’ NEST OF HONEY-DIPPED JAZZ/ROCK. AN EXTREMELY FINE RECORD.”

The week marked the album’s debut on the jazz chart, it would go on to peak at #18 on October 10.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 18 23
Billboard 200 201

s-l300

#33: “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” by Earl Klugh from the #33 album, Late Night Guitar. This track lead of the album with Klugh simply playing the 1933 Jerome Kern standard alone on his acoustic guitar. The album, Klugh’s seventh as a solo artist, received a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Instrumental Performance, losing to Larry Carlton & Mike Post for “The Theme from Hill Street Blues.” The album had debuted on the chart in December 1980, peaked at #4 in February 1981, and was seven weeks away from ending its 39 week chart run on this August 8 chart.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 4 39
Billboard 200 98 23
R&B 40 18
1981 Jazz Year End 6

8081album

#31: “Every Day (I Thank You)” by Pat Metheny from the #31 album, 80/81. The album features Pat Metheny (leader, guitars), Dewey Redman (tenor saxophone), Charlie Haden (bass), Michael Brecker (tenor saxophone), and Jack DeJohnette (drums). For the record, Brecker plays sax on this particular cut, which took up most of side 4 of this double album set. The album had debuted on the jazz charts way back on November 1, 1980.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 4 44
Billboard 200 89 14
1981 Jazz Year End 5

R-995351-1276442448.jpeg

#18: “Bread Sandwiches” by Bernard Wright from the #18 album, ‘Nard.  The son of singer Roberta Flack, keyboardist Wright hailed from Jamaica, Queens along with other funk-jazzers Tom Browne and Lenny White. This album, released when Wright was only 18, had only a few instrumental tracks, including this one from side two. Released on the fledgling GRP label, this album was produced by label founders Dave Grusin & Larry Rosen. Wright’s only appearance on the jazz charts, this one debuted on April 11, peaked May 9, and slipped off the chart September 12.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 7 22
Billboard 200 116 14
R&B 23 24
1981 Jazz Year End 36

R-2409532-1464360255-5636.jpeg

#13: “Mountain Dance” by Dave Grusin from the #13 album, Mountain Dance.  Grusin was doing it all back in ’81, from film scoring to producing to label management to collaborating to recording his own stuff. This is the title track to his second GRP album, his most successful as a solo act, and can still be heard on smooth jazz radio formats to this day. The album first hit the jazz chart in mid-March, peaked in May, and would hang around the charts until mid-November.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 3 36
Billboard 200 74  18
1981 Jazz Year End 8

applejuice

#9: “Gettin’ Up” by Tom Scott from the #9 album, Apple Juice. A live album, recorded in New York City, featuring Scott backed up by the members of Stuff, plus a few other recognizable session musician names: Eric Gale (electric and acoustic guitar), Hugh McCracken (electric guitar), Richard Tee (keyboards), Marcus Miller (bass), Ralph MacDonald (percussion), and Steve Gadd (drums). On this track, which leads off side two of the album, Scott is featured on the newfangled Lyricon electronic wind instrument (EWI) as well as his usual tenor. At #9 on this particular chart, it would peak two weeks later at #7 and stay on the chart until February 13, 1982.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 7 31
Billboard 200 123 11
1981 Jazz Year End 33

rit

#6: “Is It You?” by Lee Ritenour from the #6 album, RIT. A pop release from a long-time jazzer/session ace, this album did surprisingly well, spurred along by this song. “Is It You?” with vocals by Eric Tagg, was a Top 40 single, hitting #15 not only on the pop chart but also the Adult Contemporary chart. It is also notable for its video receiving considerable airplay during the first few days of air in August, 1981 (it was the 44th, 108th, and 148th video aired).  Ritenour would re-record this song for his 2005 release, Overtime, featuring vocalists Grady Harrell and Kenya Hathaway. The RIT album debuted on the jazz chart on May 9, 1981 and hung around the top ten for almost 6 months.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 4 40
Billboard 200 26 23
R&B 20 20
1981 Jazz Year End 9

voyeur

#4: “Let’s Just Say Goodbye” by David Sanborn from the #4 album, Voyeur. The lead track to Sanborn’s first #1 jazz album.  The album, which stayed on the jazz chart for over a year, featured many recognizable names, including Marcus Miller, Hiram Bullock, Steve Gadd, and Buzzy Feiten. Sanborn’s previous album, Hideaway, occupies the 27 spot on this chart in its 76th week. The Voyeur album had held the #1 spot position two weeks prior to this date, but ultimately spent a total of 30 weeks in the top ten.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 1 53
Billboard 200 45 22
R&B 18 21
1981 Jazz Year End 4

winelight

#1: “Winelight” by Grover Washington, Jr. from the #1 album, Winelight. A huge crossover hit, this was by far Washington’s most successful album. And all the usual suspects are here: Ralph MacDonald, Marcus Miller, Steve Gadd, Eric Gale, and Richard Tee. This album spent over three years on the jazz chart, including an incredible 31 weeks in the #1 spot. Not only was this the #1 jazz album of 1981, it was also the #18 jazz album of 1982 and the #47 jazz album of 1983.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 1 183
Billboard 200 5 52
R&B 2 49
1981 Jazz Year End 1

bb81

Cash Box #1 Jazz Albums of 1980

In 1980, Cash Box magazine published a Jazz Album list weekly.  Forty albums were ranked in each chart. Here’s a chart of the #1 jazz albums for 1980:

Week Ending Album Artist(s)
January 5 One on One Bob James &
Earl Klugh
January 12
January 19
January 26
February 2
February 9
February 16
February 23
March 1
March 8 Every Generation Ronnie Laws
March 15 Fun and Games Chuck Mangione
March 22
March 29
April 5
April 12
April 19
April 26
May 3 Catching the Sun Spyro Gyra
May 10
May 17
May 24
May 31
June 7
June 14
June 21
June 28
July 5
July 12
July 19 This Time Al Jarreau
July 26
August 2 Rhapsody and Blues The Crusaders
August 9
August 16 Give Me the Night George Benson
August 23
August 30
September 6
September 13
September 20
September 27
October 4
October 11
October 18
October 25
November 1
November 8
November 15
November 22
November 29
December 6
December 13
December 20
December 27 Winelight Grover Washington, Jr.