Saturday, December 5, 2009

Roy Ayers Ubiquity - Red Black & Green (1973)

The words versatile and multi-talented seem to damn vibraphonist/bandleader Roy Ayers with faint praise, but summing up a musician of this quality without going over the moon is a tough task. Known to the hip-hop generation as Icon Man of acid jazz, Roy Ayers roots extend deep into bop. He started playing with West Coast jazz ensembles back in the early Sixties when he was 22 or so, working with the likes of Chico Hamilton, Gerald Wilson and Hampton Hawes, among others. In 1966, he hooked up with jazz flutist Herbie Mann, and performed and recorded him for four years, most notably on Mann's Concerto Grosso In D Blues and Memphis Underground albums. By 1970, he was ready to move on, which he did with Mann's blessing and assistance. He formed the Roy Ayers Ubiquity, with an ever-changing cast that included saxman Sonny Fortune (who appears on this disc) and percussionists Billy Cobham and Alphonse Mouzon (who don't). Red Black & Green came along in 1973, at about midpoint in Ayers' Polydor career. He manages to straddle the line between jazz and soul quite comfortably, but that was an era (think Grover Washington Jr. and George Benson's CTI-era recordings) when the borders were fluid. The disc went Top 5 on the Billboard jazz chart, though it contains versions of such soul classics as Papa Was A Rolling Stone and Ain't No Sunshine.

1 Ain't No Sunshine 6:20
Written-By - Bill Withers
2 Henceforth 3:53
Written-By - Roy Ayers
Written-By, Co-producer - Myrnaleah Williams
3 Day Dreaming 5:32
Written-By - Aretha Franklin
4 Red Black & Green 4:43
Written-By - Edwin Birdsong , Roselle Weaver , Roy Ayers
5 Cocoa Butter 4:50
Written-By - Roy Ayers
6 Rhythms Of Your Mind 3:08
Co-producer - Myrnaleah Williams
Written-By - Dennis Davis
7 Papa Was A Rolling Stone 5:32
Written-By - Barrett Strong , Norman Whitfield

Arranged By [Strings], Conductor [Strings] - William S. Fischer
Backing Vocals - Carol Smiley , Claudia Moore , Laverne Seabrook , Tamara Richardson , Victoria Haspedale , Wayne Garfield
Bass - Clint Houston , Emir Ksasan
Congas, Percussion - Billy King , Daniel Benzebulon
Drums, Vocals, Arranged By - Dennis Davis
Electric Piano, Piano - Harry Whitaker
Engineer - Buzz Richmond
Engineer [Remix] - Eddie Kramer
Guitar - Billy Nichols , Bob Fusco , David Barron
Producer - Jerry Schoenbaum
Saxophone [Soprano] - Sonny Fortune
Strings - Alfred Brown , Charles McCracken , Emanuel Brown , Gene Orloff , Kermit Moore , Selwart Clarke
Trombone - Garnett Brown
Trumpet - Charles Tolliver
Vibraphone, Vocals, Piano, Organ, Arranged By - Roy Ayers

Recorded at Electric Lady Studio N.Y.C.


Philo said...

This is an Ayers album I had not heard.


Simon666 said...