Dr. Smooth’s Flashback #17: Billboard/Cash Box/Record World charts of June 21, 1980

Spend an hour remembering some of the most popular jazz of 1980 as listed on the Top 40 Jazz Albums charts in the June 21, 1980 issues of Billboard, Cash Box, and Record World magazines.



Track 1: “Never Givin’ Up” by Al Jarreau, from the album This Time. Written by Al Jarreau and Ron Canning, produced by Jay Graydon.

Jazz Album Charts: June 21, 1980
Cash Box 20
Record World 10


Track 2: “Every Generation” by Ronnie Laws, from the album Every Generation. Written and produced by Ronnie Laws.

Jazz Album Charts: June 21, 1980
Billboard 17
Cash Box 10
Record World 14


Track 3: “Back Together Again” by Roberta Flack featuring Donny Hathaway from the album Roberta Flack featuring Donny Hathaway. Written by James Mtume and Reggie Lucas, produced by Roberta Flack and Eric Mercury.

Jazz Album Charts: June 21, 1980
Billboard 10
Cash Box
Record World


Track 4: “All Hell Broke Loose” by Stanley Clarke, from the album Rocks, Pebbles and Sand. Written and produced by Stanley Clarke.

Jazz Album Charts: June 21, 1980
Billboard 16
Cash Box 15
Record World 6


Track 5: “Spellbound” by Earl Klugh, from the album Dream Come True. Written and produced by Earl Klugh.

Jazz Album Charts: June 21, 1980
Billboard 8
Cash Box 5
Record World 12


Track 6: “Baseball” by Michael Franks from the album One Bad Habit. Written by Michael Franks, produced by Tommy LiPuma and Andre Fischer.

Jazz Album Charts: June 21, 1980
Billboard 7
Cash Box 4
Record World 8


Track 7: “Brazilian Sugar” by George Duke, from the album A Brazilian Love Affair. Written and produced by George Duke.

Jazz Album Charts: June 21, 1980
Billboard 6
Cash Box 9
Record World 4


Track 8: “Carly’s Song” by David Sanborn, from the album HideawayWritten by David Sanborn, produced by Michael Colina.

Jazz Album Charts: June 21, 1980
Billboard 4
Cash Box 7
Record World 3


Track 9: “Stars in Your Eyes” by Herbie Hancock, from the album Monster. Written by Gavin Christopher, Herbie Hancock, Lisa Capuano and Ray Parker, Jr., produced by David Rubinson & Friends.

Jazz Album Charts: June 21, 1980
Billboard 3
Cash Box 6
Record World 5


Track 10: “Snake Eyes” by Grover Washington, Jr., from the album Skylarkin’. Written and produced by Grover Washington, Jr.

Jazz Album Charts: June 21, 1980
Billboard 5
Cash Box 2
Record World 1


Track 11: “Catching the Sun” by Spyro Gyra from the album Catching the Sun. Written by Jay Beckenstein, produced by Jay Beckenstein and Richard Calandra.

Jazz Album Charts: June 21, 1980
Billboard 1
Cash Box 1
Record World 2


Charting the Charts: Casino Nights (1982)



Here’s a look at how the album Casino Nights, Recorded live at Montreux, Switzerland, July 14 & 15, 1981 at the Montreux Casino, fared on various album charts:

Date Billboard
Jazz (50)
Radio & Records
Jazz (30)
Jazz (30)
Oct 30 19 22 21
Nov 6 22 11
Nov 13 6 16 4
Nov 20 11 3
Nov 27 4 11 3
Dec 4 7 3
Dec 11 5 3
Dec 18 1 5 2
Dec 25 5 3
Date Billboard
Jazz (50)
Radio & Records
Jazz (30)
Jazz (30)
Jan 1 5 3
Jan 8 4 5 2
Jan 15 5 4
Jan 22 5 5 4
Jan 29 4 4
Feb 5 9 7 5
Feb 12 7 4
Feb 19 8 10 5
Feb 26 10 4
March 5 10 11 4
March 12 11 6
March 19 11 14 10
March 26 30 13
April 2 11 12
April 9 12
April 16 19 18
April 23 16
April 30 38 14
May 7 17
May 14 32 16
May 21 19
May 28 32 17
June 4 27
June 11 39 25
June 18 24
June 25 41 26
July 2 29
July 9 41
July 16
July 23 40
July 30
Aug 6 38
Aug 13
Aug 20 41
Aug 27
Sept 3 44
Sept 10
Sept 17 49


Liner notes from the sleeves of the LP by Joe Robinson:

There’s a place where they send jazz musicians who’ve been good to their instruments. They have decent coffee there. The sound of sixteenth century church bells is more prominent than the horns of VWs or Datsuns. Large pieces of real estate tend to be castles, no condos. Best of all, the local inhabitants in this splendid retreat regard visiting jazzmen and women with a reverence usually reserved for popes, prophets and downhill racers.
Players get far away from the din of the metropolitan club circuit when they come to Montreux, Switzerland. Snuggled into a steep slope on the eastern edge of Lake Geneva, Montreux declares a state of music each July known as Montreux Jazz Festival. In 15 years it has become the world’s most prestigious jazz event and a lot of it has to do with the music that has been made there. From vintage Dizzy Gillespie and Charles Mingus to the vanguard of Anthony Braxton and Cecil Taylor, the performances have won a reputation for spontaneity that suggests musicians like it in the Alps.
The players on this record certainly do. The panorama of Old World sights and New World sounds had lured Al Jarreau, David Sanborn, Larry Carlton, Neil Larsen, Mike Mainieri and most of the Yellowjackets to Montreux before, in some cases several times. All could vouch for the state-of-the-art facilities and the creative change provided by the Swiss spectacle.
A man synonymous with jazz celebration, Al Jarreau has played Montreux four times. “Any gathering of players and music appreciators is a special place,” he notes. “What’s fascinating about Montreux, though, is the setting. All those people from around the Continent, all the different native tongues. And the music’s communicating to everybody. It’s elegant and down-home at the same time.”
It wasn’t hard imagining a couple of nights at the festival for the lineup on this album. Even if they weren’t on the same record label, they eventually would be on the same bill. These artists belong together like Wyoming belongs next to Colorado. One picks up the peaks where the other leaves off. It’s variations on a very compelling theme, premium contemporary musicianship.
Jarreau, Sanborn, Mainieri, Larsen, Crawford, the Yellowjackets and Carlton are brethern-in-arms to be sure. All are frequent award winners in musicians’ polls around the world. But the context of that fire-power is equally comradely, a sophisticated marriage of rock dynamics and R&B backbone to a highly melodic jazz base. As Al Jarreau says, “It’s not like dragging together a bunch of country and classical players. What’s beautiful about the music we play is the element of improvisation, that environment that’s able to trigger different parts of your performing psyche.” There’s a confidence in technique that allows all these players to have their artistic say and still communicate emotionally.
When Al Jarreau gets off one of his trapeze-act-without-a-net vocals or Larry Carlton one of his stingingly sweet breaks, you can throw out the yin, yang, the baby and the bathwater because the brain has stopped programming and the gut has taken over. This is a very emotional bunch of players here, unabashed heart specialists.
From L.A. came Neil Larsen and band, David Sanborn, producer Tommy LiPuma, engineer Al Schmitt and Larry Carlton; from New York came Mike Mainieri and bassist Marcus Miller – the young phenom who’s worked with Miles Davis, Luther Vandross, Aretha Franklin and was the talk of the session circuit. From L.A. via dates in London came Randy Crawford’s and everybody else’s backup band, the incomparable Yellowjackets. Jarreau’s band was to arrive later from Amsterdam. All told there were seven bands’ schedules to negotiate, including those of Neil Larsen’s group, and Mike Maineri’s and Larry Carlton’s bands, to be featured on an upcoming album.
An intrepid music fan in Montreux can get concert previews by hanging out at the city’s handful of major hotels and theatres, where rehearsals are conducted. Behind the mirrored bar wall of one venerable 19th century hotel, the David Sanborn group was getting into the spirit of things with a chaser of its own, called “Love Is Not Enough.” The sound was torrential, Sanborn raising up on his tiptoes to shake out particularly mean bursts, Robben Ford’s guitar searing the small room. The effects of jet lag and a 10-hour rehearsal day were obvious on some faces. But not those of the Bionic Bottom, Marcus Miller, and the man in the Baked Potato t-shirt, Ricky Lawson.
The Yellowjackets’ drummer confessed he was ‘beat’ with the same solar grin that was to energize weary colleagues and captivate the Montreux audience over the next few days. Lawson has worked with George Duke, Stevie Wonder, Joan Armatrading and Roy Ayers, but topped that total each day out on this project. The iron man was playing in no less than five bands: Sanborn’s, Carlton’s, the Yellowjackets, Randy Crawford and Randy with Al Jarreau. His battle cry, “where’s the next session?” was echoed by Marcus Miller, who had to learn the songs of four different bands, Larsen’s, Mainieri’s, Sanborn’s and the Randy Crawford – Al Jarreau duets.
The good-natured marathoning of Lawson and Miller symbolized an extraordinary pooling of time, talent, and temperament devoid of ego problems. There was no jockeying for solos and everybody worked for scale, though all are accustomed to commanding considerably higher fees. Robben Ford worked in five of the bands; Neil Larsen and Mike Mainieri in three; Lenny Castro, Neil Larsen’s percussionist, played in four; forming a partnership so tight it could only be called family.
★   ★   ★   ★
The swirl of musical activity in Montreux lives up to the ‘festival’ billing as few music extravaganzas do. There is music happening literally around the clock, from morning rehearsals to outdoor afternoon shows free to the public (featuring American college big bands in ’81), to the evening’s official performances, the post-gig jams in the Musician’s Bar and countless informal sessions among performers and would-be performers. All this in a previously obscure town of 20,000 where for the most of the year the only things that swing are the ropes anchoring lakeside pleasure craft.
Montreux was put on the map by the determination, savvy and musical zeal of festival director and part-time harmonica player Claude Nobs. A former employee of the Montreux tourist office, he talked the city and the tourist bureau into a subsidy, and Charles Lloyd, Keith Jarrett and Don Menza into performing a three-day fest in 1967, and he hasn’t stopped talking or booking since.
Nobs was excited. But when isn’t he excited when the topic is music? That’s Claude, for instance, on the intro to David Sanborn’s “Love Is Not Enough.” He introduces every act and serves as yell leader after every set during the three weeks of shows. Not many promoters can even pretend to have that kind of enthusiasm.
“Jazz is the most important art form created by the U.S. in this century,” the crusading Nobs believes. “We try to present a wide rainbow of that form not only for today’s audience but also for tomorrow’s.”
Concerned that there was virtually no visual record of the jazz and blues greats of the fifties and sixties, Nobs began videotaping all the shows at Montreux 10 years ago. Today that invaluable collection is matched only by the live recordings that go along with it. He’s recorded them all, from Count Basie to George Duke to King Curtis.
Another, but very different style of Montreux recording began to emerge at rehearsals in Claude Nobs’ Montreux Sounds studios the night before the show. Tommy LiPuma was seeing to that. As a gaggle of fans and colleagues squirmed in the doorway to view An Event, LiPuma was directing his all-star team through territory very uncharacteristic of live albums – new material.
For the producer of George Benson, Al Jarreau and Michael Franks this wasn’t going to be just a collection of recently recorded pieces inspired by the considerable Montreux vibe. LiPuma wanted to transfer that onstage simulation to some new music, too, making this set as fresh and song-conscious as any studio record. For that he’d encouraged new material from all the artists. And designed the duets.
Al Jarreau and Randy Crawford, swaying softly, song sheets in hand, leaned into their mikes, trading laments on a bittersweet number called “Who’s Right, Who’s Wrong.” The band – Neil Larsen, Marcus Miller, Ricky Lawson, Lenny Castro, Larry Carlton and David Sanborn – took them up through the chorus and stopped. Jarreau shook his head. After several run-throughs he still wasn’t satisfied with his harmony.
Two of the world’s most free-singing stylists, both Jarreau and Crawford had some adjustments to make. This was only their fourth rehearsal together. Moreover, Jarreau had never sung tandem with another vocalist before. But the man who routinely wins international vocal awards saw the duets as a chance to take his craft even further. “There are parts of you that you can’t go to as naturally as you do when you’re working with another singer,” he explained. “It inspires a different part of your creative storehouse.”
Underlining this point convincingly, he and his exquisite friend lit into the finish of “Who’s Right, Who’s Wrong.” There was plenty ‘right’ in the exchange. Jarreau and Crawford are practically unrivaled natural singers, so there’s an instinctive vocal rapport between them. Both pack an emotional charge that can make a duet a vignette instead of two people just singing harmony. Importantly, though, there’s a genuine warmth between them that makes their duets work as only the best have. Maybe that’s why LiPuma turned Al and Randy loose on “Your Precious Love,” the 1967 hit by one of the top teams ever, Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell.
Randy Crawford is subtler than you would expect a singer with a voice as awesome as hers to be. Shouting is not her way. She radiates a quiet grace. Her phrasing smolders. Most call it ‘class,’ a dignity that comes from being so good at what you do that no embellishment is needed. It’s earned her the respect of audiences around the world, especially in England, where her album Secret Combination managed to beat out the Rolling Stones for the Number One spot on the album charts, and it would win her an ecstatic reception at the Montreux Casino.
★   ★   ★   ★
Ticket hopefuls with signs in three languages hovered around the Casino on the night of the festival’s quickest sellout, searching the stream of faces, hands and pockets for any tipoff to stray tickets. Most would have to wait for this album. Inside, Swiss television cameras were rolling. Claude Nobs was headlong into one of his famous intros. The milling crowd was barely in its seats before it was out of them again.
A turbulent wave of sound rushed over the audience like white water on the Colorado. Down the rapids they shot with Neil Larsen’s band, propelled by his trusty M-3 organ. Old enough to vote, Larsen’s M-3 over the years has taken on a kind of haunting underwater quality giving his music a gauzy, dream-like flavor. But Larsen can be just as hypnotic on piano. His eloquent on “Casino Lights” sent the audience into blissful reverie.
Through the ’70s Neil Larsen and Buzz Feiten concentrated on session work. Larsen also recorded a couple of remarkable solo albums. Together they’ve patented a propulsive music marked bu unforgettable organ-guitar leads and a feastful of gourmet melodies.
★   ★   ★   ★
David Sanborn was up next. The heat was turned up to broil. America’s most popular and quick-witted altoist was ready to work. Bounding out to center stage, Sanborn attacked with a fury that comes only at special gigs when large amounts of adrenaline seize control of every last fiber in the body. Sanborn grew up on a diet of Ray Charles and Hank Crawford and it’s this early R&B bent that fuels his tremendously passionate sax. Though he’s at home with jazz masters like Gil Evans and Major Holley, or pop artists like David Bowie and Paul Simon, Sanborn clearly prefers the personal approach.
He had the direct line crackling on “Love Is Not Enough,” a personal-to-person call to every member of the audience. Sanborn is far removed from the traditional conception of saxman, the aloof, stoic monument of cool lost in technical exposition. When you hear him open up on this song, turning those reeds into wind tunnels, squeezing out one last, sweet twist just as you thought he’d run out of oxygen, you get the message. The man’s out to raise the skin and riot the soul. That’s all folks.
“Love Is Not Enough,” from Sanborn’s 1978 Heart To Heart album, was a triumph for his whole band. The mad dash rehearsals had turned out a seamless unit with action at enough corners to tangle up the video team as they dragged their cables from one soloist to the other, and often to Marcus Miller’s corner. Marcus is no stranger to Sanborn’s music. He collaborated on many of the songs on Voyeur and As We Speak, and Sanborn led the cheers here for his writing partner’s churning breaks.
★   ★   ★   ★
After a short breather, Ricky Lawson and Robben Ford were back on stage, somewhat startled to find themselves in their own band. Yet there was genial Russ Ferrante on the keyboards, and in the rear dependable Jimmy Haslip on bass. And nobody else.
Few bands enjoy themselves as much as the Yellowjackets, or are as visible in expressing the joy of making music. They spare no energy and no shortage of cheer in the service of some of the most advanced ensemble playing around. Drummer Lawson, with his cherubic grin and big, hard kit style is completely contagious. Ford’s dimples get as much of a workout as his 1958 Gibson 335. A lot of the exuberance comes from what Ferrante calls “a genuine fondness personally, as well as musically,” among band members. “We even live close together, which is unheard of for musicians.” Ferrante and Ford go back 10 years in bands together.
“Monmouth College Fight Song” spread the spirit down every Casino aisle. Led by Lawson’s Big Ten beat and Ferrante’s brassy synthesizer, the Yellowjackets gave Montreux and Monmouth something to cheer about. Ferrante doesn’t know if Monmouth College has a fight song (he went to San Jose State), but they could do worse than this open-field charge. Like all Yellowjackets’ music, it’s bright and brash. Robben Ford unloads some particularly juicy screamers of the sort that he’s made famous behind Tom Scott’s L.A. Express, Joni Mitchell, Jimmy Witherspoon and on one solo album.
“Monmouth,” which Ferrante describes as “a march of sorts, but a little demented,” was recorded for the first time here at Montreux in keeping with the drive here for new tunes. It was so new that the band not only performed it a couple of times before the festival, which is unusual for the type of music (i.e. not easy) that the band does. “It turned out nice and spontaneous,” says Ferrante.
★   ★   ★   ★
The Yellowjackets had backed Randy Crawford on her English tour before coming to Switzerland. When the lady glided to the front of the Montreux stage they fell in crisply behind her. Randy has always done well in Europe, ever since she played St. Tropez one summer as a junior in high school. Elegant in a pink and burgundy pleated sun dress, she gave the slow-burning treatment to two of her recent hits in Europe, “You Might Need Somebody” and “Rainy Night In Georgia.” The crowd roared its approval. You don’t learn to sing like that in European churches.
People don’t have much trouble believing what Randy Crawford sings. She was taught in church choirs early on to sing not like she meant it, but because she did. This kind of conviction behind a lyric as powerful as John Lennon’s “Imagine” was a devastating combination on Randy’s encore. Sitting on the end of the stage in a lone spotlight, she propelled Lennon’s vision of a humane world into a force strong enough to penetrate even the calloused cranium of a Pentagon/Kremlin strategist. Turn this one up and feel the chills.
★   ★   ★   ★
The Al & Randy Show brought many familiar faces back out on stage, David Sanborn, Larry Carlton, Neil Larsen, Ricky Lawson and Marcus Miller. Jarreau all in white, led Randy, now in black chiffon, arm in arm to center stage. Randy, beaming up at Al, purred playfully as the band struck up “Your Precious Love.” Jarreau sidled up to her with a breathy “que ce que c’est.” There was romance in the Alps tonight.
There’s something about a man and a woman, equally gifted, matching each other strength for strength, phrase for phrase, in a total, sublime synchronization of artistry that suggests a kind of romantic ideal, whether it’s Fonteyn and Nureyev or Astaire and Rogers. Jarreau and Crawford flirted with the ultimate equality of the sexes on more than one occasion, performing, seemingly, for the sheer romance of it all.
They put the old Motown number through a rigorous new program, subjecting the pop tune to the best in jazz expression. Words were stretched, curved and customized for maximum personal involvement.
No ordinary duet comes close to the emotional pitch they reached on “Who’s Right, Who’s Wrong.” The Richard Page/Kenny Rogers song will never be the same after the torrid exchange produced here by Jarreau and Crawford. Their improvised give-and-take at the song’s climax had the intensity of any great instrumental tradeoff, and more. Whipped up by Sanborn’s lusty sax, Randy poured out anguish that needed no subtitles for non-English speakers. When she wailed, “I tell ya I don’t know about it, brother,” there was only one thing left to say. “Yes, ma’am.”
★   ★   ★   ★
>The man whose guitar sings on “Your Precious Love” is Larry Carlton. Considered by many studio experts the ultimate session guitarist, Carlton is known for a biting, searing guitar style. The ‘Carlton Sound,’ a luminous sounding volume pedal technique, has influenced a generation of players. His work in the Crusaders and on Steely Dan albums such as The Royal Scam and Aja defined the model guitar burst. Rolling Stone has rated his solo on Steely Dan’s “Kid Charlemagne” as “one of the three best licks in rock.”
The finesse and taste that make Carlton so incisive in the studio – the delicate touch, the economy of effort, the knack for sweet sustain – work just as effectively on stage, leading to that inevitable riff of delight described on the backs of so many record sleeves: ‘Guitar Solo, Larry Carlton.’
The last, and certainly not the least of the performers to be talked about here is Mike Mainieri. His own set was so exceptional, in fact, that England’s New Musical Express called it ‘the highlight’ of the entire three-week festival. Though that music will have to wait for an upcoming LP, you can content yourself with his superb solos on “Casino Lights” and “Love Is Not Enough.” The mild-mannered vibraphonist did what Montreux audiences have come to expect from him: he put them away.
Mainieri is the complete music professional: session player with the Brecker Bros., Larry Coryell, Chico Hamilton, Sonny Stitt, Benny Goodman, Elvin Jones, founder of his own production company (which served as a working base for Steve Gadd, the Breckers, Tony Levin, Joe Beck, and Warren Bernhardt before they became well-known figures in the New York session circle); producer of recent albums by Carly Simon, Japanese guitarist Kazumi Watanabe and Stephen Bishop; composer; arranger; solo artist.
He’s the player-coach, the actor-director who knows how to get the most out of his team because he’s part of it. He has a way with a melody that makes a song sound like a standard the first time you hear it, a cinematic sense that sparks the mind’s eye.
★   ★   ★   ★
The best part of the Montreux story is, of course, either inside this sleeve or on your turntable. The music is both a detailed account of the spirit and camaraderie found by 15 American musicians in a small Swiss town; and an exciting report on the movement of jazz into popular forms. The artists on this record may give record shops the filing fits – is it jazz? pop? R&B? – but it’s clear that their sound is giving modern music a badly needed transfusion, melodically, harmonically, and artistically.
This is a meeting of more than like-minded musicians. These performances represent a partnership of musics, too, a solidarity of America’s most expressive styles of music, led by that most American form of all, jazz.


Charting the Charts: Wilton Felder – Gentle Fire (1983)



Here’s a look at how the Wilton Felder album Gentle Fire fared on various album charts:

Date Billboard
Jazz (50)
R&B (75)
Radio & Records
Jazz (30)
Jazz (30)
R&B (75)
April 16 28 16
April 23 12
April 30 28 8 21
May 7 6 15 65
May 14 13 60 3 13 61
May 21 55 3 11 58
May 28 8 55 3 9 54
June 4 64 3 8 53
June 11 8 71 2 10 62
June 18 71 3 16 75
June 25 12 11 14 74
July 2 15 16
July 9 21 15 26
July 16 13
July 23 28 13
July 30 14 27
Aug 6 37 21 25
Aug 13 21
Aug 20 37 17
Aug 27 17
Sept 3 26 21
Sept 10 22
Sept 17 26 24
Sept 24 23
Oct 1 31 28
Oct 8
Oct 15 47




Charting the Charts: Chuck Mangione – Fun and Games (1980)



Here’s a look at how the Chuck Mangione album Fun and Games fared on various charts:

Date Billboard Jazz (50) Billboard 200 Cash Box 200 Cash Box Jazz (40)
Feb 23 23 66 62 15
March 1 2 29 15 7
March 8 2 10 10 3
March 15 1 8 10 1
March 22 1 8 9 1
March 29 2 8 9 1
April 5 2 8 12 1
April 12 3 14 15 1
April 19 3 19 18 1
April 26 4 28 21 1
May 3 4 30 25 4
May 10 5 38 37 5
May 17 5 54 43 5
May 24 5 75 52 4
May 31 9 82 71 4
June 7 11 83 77 9
June 14 11 103 89 11
June 21 12 153 146 11
June 28 13 159 161 12
July 5 23 170 167 16
July 12 25 186 195 18
July 19 25 199 20
July 26 28 200 24
Aug 2 28 28
Aug 9 29 33
Aug 16 29 33
Aug 23 35 34
Aug 30 35 35
Sept 6 33 38
Sept 13 32 38
Sept 20 33 38
Sept 27 33 39
Oct 4 41 39
Oct 11 43 40



Billboard, February 16, 1980, p. 91


Cash Box, February 9. 1980, p. 15


Dr. Smooth’s Flashback #14: Billboard/Cash Box/Record World charts of June 10, 1978

Spend an hour remembering some of the most popular jazz of 1978 as listed on the Top 40 Jazz Albums charts in the June 10, 1978 issues of Billboard, Cash Box, and Record World magazines.



Track 1: “Daisy Mae” by Raul de Souza, from the album Don’t Ask My Neighbors.

Jazz Album Charts: June 10, 1978
Billboard 34
Cash Box 33
Record World 24


Track 2: “Magic in Your Eyes” by Earl Klugh, from the album Magic in Your Eyes.

Jazz Album Charts: June 10, 1978
Billboard 33
Cash Box 38
Record World 15


Track 3: “Lotus Blossom” by David Sanborn from the album Heart to Heart.

Jazz Album Charts: June 10, 1978
Billboard 23
Cash Box 23
Record World 31


Track 4: “Superwoman” by Noel Pointer, from the #39 album of the week, Hold On.

Jazz Album Charts: June 10, 1978
Billboard 17
Cash Box 25
Record World 26


Track 5: “Mead” by Spyro Gyra, from the album Spyro Gyra.

Jazz Album Charts: June 10, 1978
Billboard 20
Cash Box 21
Record World 21


Track 6: “Loveland” by Lonnie Liston Smith from the album Loveland.

Jazz Album Charts: June 10, 1978
Billboard 11
Cash Box 8
Record World 10


Track 7: “Love Island” by Deodato, from the album Love Island.

Jazz Album Charts: June 10, 1978
Billboard 10
Cash Box 9
Record World 8


Track 8: “Rainbow Seeker” by Joe Sample, from the album, Rainbow Seeker.  

Jazz Album Charts: June 10, 1978
Billboard 3
Cash Box 6
Record World 5


Track 9: “Modern Man” by Stanley Clarke, from the album Modern Man.

Jazz Album Charts: June 10, 1978
Billboard 7
Cash Box 3
Record World 3


Track 10: “Windsong” by George Benson, from the album, Weekend in L.A.

Jazz Album Charts: June 10, 1978
Billboard 1
Cash Box 2
Record World 2


Track 11: “Feels So Good” by Chuck Mangione from the album Feels So Good.

Jazz Album Charts: June 10, 1978
Billboard 2
Cash Box 1
Record World 1

june 10 1978 jazz charts

Thanks to Herc of Herc’s Hideaway for research assistance and support.

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.


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


#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


#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 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


#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


#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


#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


#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


#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


#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


#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


#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


Dr. Smooth’s Flashback #11: Billboard chart of July 5, 1986

Spend an hour remembering some of the most popular jazz of 1986 as listed on the Top 40 Jazz Albums chart in the July 5, 1986 issue of Billboard magazine.



#38: “Bob Goes to the Store” by Spyro Gyra, from the #38 album of the week, BreakoutBreakout was the group’s tenth album, released in June, 1986. This chart marked the album’s debut. It would go on to spend two weeks at the #1 spot in late September/early October. “Bob Goes to the Store” is the album’s first track and was written by bass player Kim Stone. The group filmed a promotional video for the song that was later included in a 1990 promotional VHS tape titled Graffiti.


Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 1 34
Billboard 200 71 19
1986 Jazz Year End 14


#36: “Maybe Tomorrow” by Perrí, from the #36 album of the week, Celebrate. Perrí was a Los Angeles-based vocal group consisting of four sisters: Lori, Sharon, Darlene, and Carolyn Perry. They were discovered by Pat Metheny and later supported Anita Baker on tour. Celebrate was the quartet’s debut album. This issue of Billboard marked the album’s final appearance on the jazz chart; it had debuted on the chart back on March 15.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 14 20
1986 Jazz Year End 48


#33: “After” by Makoto Ozone, from the #33 album of the week, After.  After was the Japanese pianist’s second solo album. It debuted here in the #33 position on this date and stayed at #33 for the entirety of its chart run. While other tracks feature various sidemen/combos, this track features only Ozone.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 33 4


#25: “Sandu” by Freddie Hubbard & Woody Shaw from the #25 album, Double Take. This album by two jazz trumpet masters opens with this cover of a Clifford Brown tune.  In addition to Hubbard and Shaw, the track features Kenny Garrett on alto saxophone and Mulgrew Miller on piano. The album debuted on the chart this week at the #25 spot and stayed near that position for its brief chart run.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 19 12


#21: “Milan” by Ahmad Jamal from the #21 album, Rossiter Road. This Jamal album had debuted on the jazz chart on June 7 and was peaking here at the #21 spot. For this album, Jamal was backed by James Cammack on bass, Herlin Riley on drums, and Manolo Badrena on percussion.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 21 10


#20: “And You Know That” by Yellowjackets from the #20 album, Shades.  At #20, this was the highest debuting album on this particular chart. The track, written by drummer Ricky Lawson and keyboardist Russell Ferrante, won a Grammy Award for “Best R&B Instrumental Performance (Orchestra, Group or Soloist)” and is the album’s lead cut. Track 4 of the album, “Revelation,” features vocals from Perrí (see #36 above).

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 4 32
Billboard 200 195 2
1986 Jazz Year End 16


#18: “Never As Good As the First Time” by Sade from the #18 album, Promise.  This multi-platinum album debuted on the jazz chart on January 18, had peaked at #4 on March 29, and was on its decline on this date. “Never As Good As the First Time” was the third single released from the album and peaked at #20 pop, #8 R&B, and #6 adult contemporary.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 4 32
Billboard 200 1  46
R&B 1  45
1986 Jazz Year End 10


#12: “Highland Aire” by Lyle Mays from the #12 album, Lyle Mays. The first solo effort by Pat Metheny Group keyboardist, this album debuted on the jazz chart on May 24 and was peaking here at #12 in its seventh week. Playing with Mays on this album are Alejandro N. Acuña, drums; Billy Drewes, saxophone; Bill Frisell: guitar; Marc Johnson, bass; and Nana Vasconcelos, percussion.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 12 16


#11: “Majesty” by Cabo Frio from the #11 album, Right on the Money. The fusion group’s second album debuted on the jazz chart on April 12 and was at its peak here at #11. “Majesty” is the album’s 8th track and was written by keyboardist Joey Santora and also features saxophonist Terrance Bruce.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 11 20
1986 Jazz Year End 37


#5: “Since I Fell for You” by Bob James & David Sanborn from the #5 album, Double Vision. This track, a jazz standard, features vocals by Al Jarreau and won a Grammy award for “Best Jazz Fusion Performance, Vocal or Instrumental,” peaked at #10 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, and was featured in the television show Moonlighting as well as appearing on that show’s compilation. The album debuted on the previous chart at #30 and jumped 25 spots to #5 on this chart. It would spend 8 consecutive weeks in the top spot starting August 2.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 1 58
Billboard 200 50 64
R&B 16 39
1986 Jazz Year End 7


#2: “Smiles and Smiles to Go” by Larry Carlton from the #2 album, Alone/But Never AloneThis is the album’s lead track and was written and produced by Carlton. The album debuted on the jazz chart on April 12 and would move from this #2 position to the top spot on the next chart.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 1 34
Billboard 200 141 11
1986 Jazz Year End 6


#1: “Love Will Follow” by George Howard from the #1 album, Love Will Follow. This album, which had debuted on March 29, spent 8 consecutive weeks in the #1 spot. This title track is a cover of a Kenny Loggins/Tom Snow song and features Howard on soprano saxophone and Ron Smith on guitar.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 1 32
Billboard 200 142 11
R&B 22 26
1986 Jazz Year End 3


As always, thanks to Herc of Herc’s Hideaway for research assistance and support.