Friday, October 23, 2009

Roy Ayers Live at Ronnie Scott's 1998

Captured back in 1988 within the intimate settings of London's legendary West End jazz haunt, Ronnie Scott's in Soho, Roy Ayers delivers big time his unique fusion of funk, jazz and soul -- topped by his trademark jazz vibe playing. The album includes infectious reworkings of such club classics as 'Running Away', 'Everybody Loves the Sunshine' and 'Cant You See Me'. (from the liner notes)

Indeed, this is a live set guaranteed to make everybody get up and start shakin' this booty as can be attested by embedded videos of this very set below. The participation of the late, great Zachary Breaux on guitar in this formidable band can only be regarded as a bonus and a fitting tribute.


1. The Spirit of Doo Do
2. I Wanna Touch You Baby
3. Everybody Loves the Sunshine
4. Fast Money
5. Battle of the Vibes
6. Can't You See Me
7. Running Away
8. Don't Stop the Feeling


Roy Ayers - vocals, vibraphone
Zachary Breaux - guitar
Errol Louis - Bass
Ben Peronsky - drums
Dwight Gassaway - percussion

Battle of the Vibes, where we get to meet Roy Ayers the stand-up comedian.

Running Away featuring a killer solo by Zachary Breaux, rip.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Roy Ayers Ubiquity - He's Coming (1972)

One of the rarest and greatest Roy Ayers albums of all time -- the sly, funky and spiritual masterpiece He's Coming from 1971 -- really the beginning of the funk years from Roy Ayers Ubiquity! This one's a totally solid mix of soulful jazz, jazzy soul and righteous funk -- and it's straight up wonderful all the way through -- with a groove that's hugely influential to say the least! Includes the amazing track "We Live In Brooklyn Baby", which has a slow sample bassline in the intro that's just incredible -- plus groovy cuts like the spiritual funk classic Jesus Christ Superstar "He's a Superstar", "He's Coming", and "Sweet Tears". The lineup includes Sonny Fortune on soprano sax and flute and Billy Cobham drums and percussion, and the record's co-arranged by Harry Whitaker, who's also on keys and vocals -- with other tracks include "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother", "Ain't Got Time", "I Don't Know How To Love Him", "Sweet Butterfly Of Love" and "Fire Weaver". Amazing stuff, really a beautiful encapsulation of Roy Ayers in peak form! ~Dusty Groove America

He's A Superstar
He Ain't Heavy He's My Brother
Ain't Got Time
I Don't Know How To Love Him
He's Coming
We Live In Brooklyn Baby
Sweet Butterfly Of Love
Sweet Tears
Fire Weaver

Electric Piano, Organ, Vocals - Harry Whitaker
Vibraphone, Organ, Vocals - Roy Ayers
Backing Vocals - Carol Smiley , Gloria Jones , Victoria Hospedale
Bass - John Williams, Ron Carter
Congas - Jumma Santos
Drums - David Lee, Jr.
Drums, Percussion - Billy Cobham
Guitar - Bob Fusco, Sam Brown
Soprano Sax, Flute - Sonny Fortune
Strings - Selwart Clarke
Engineer - Rudy Van Gelder

Polydor PD5022 1972

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Roy Ayers - Ubiquity (1970)

One of the greatest Roy Ayers albums of all time. The record is right in the same vein as Roy's groundbreaking He's Coming LP -- a righteous mix of soul jazz, subtle funk, and some of the cosmic wisdom that Roy was spreading among the jazz funk underground -- all wrapped up beautifully, but never in a way that's like commercial soul of the time. There's a few instrumental tracks on the album, plus some vocal ones that show that off-beat male/female style that Roy would use more famously in later tracks like "Everybody Loves The Sunshine" or his work with Ramp. Players include Harry Whitaker on electric piano, Edwin Birdsong on organ, Alphonse Mouzon on drums, Jumma Santos on congas -- and titles include a version of Nat Adderley's "Hummin", done as "Hummin In The Sun", and very much in the Ramp vein. Also features instrumental cuts "The Fuzz", which has Roy's vibes toned way up, and the cool mellow "The Painted Desert", a really offbeat slow jazz number. The group also does a great job with Edwin Birdsong's "Pretty Brown Skin", picking up the song as a really anthemic groover that gives the record a nice kick. ~Dusty Groove America


1. Pretty Brown Skin
2. Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head
3. I Can't Help Myself
4. Love
5. The Fuzz
6. Hummin'
7. Can You Dig It?
8. Painted Desert
9. He Gives Us All His Love

LP 58496 Polydor, 1971

Roy Ayers Ubiquity - Virgo Red (1973)

Despite contributions from an abundance of soul-jazz greats including Dee Dee Bridgewater, Jimmy Owens, and Garnett Brown, VIRGO RED is the most stripped-down and nuanced of Roy Ayers's Ubiquity LPs. Its sinuous funk grooves are first and foremost a showcase for the intuitive interplay of Ayers and electric keyboardist Harry Whitaker, whose Fender Rhodes fill-ins orbit Ayers's vibes solos like a planet circling the sun. The material is a crazy quilt of righteously soulful originals and deeply funky covers spanning Leroy Hutson's soul classic "Giving Love" to Stories' soft-pop smash "Brother Louie" to absolute treacle like THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE's "The Morning After"--by all rights it shouldn't work, but as the astrological overtones winding through VIRGO RED attest, sometimes the stars align.

1. Brother Louie
2. Virgo Red
3. I Am Your Mind
4. The Morning After
5. Love From The Sun
6. It's So Sweet
7. Giving Love
8. Des Nude Soul

Baritone Vocals - Argerie Ayers , Arthur Clark , Denise Bridgewater* , Leslie Carter (2) , Seldon Powell , Willie Michael
Bass - David Johnson (2) , Gordon Edwards
Congas, Bongos, Vocals - Chano O'Ferral
Drums, Percussion - Dennis Davis
Guitar - Dennis Heaven , Will Hawes
Percussion - Adrian Dey , Stephen Sadiz Shbazzberrios
Piano, Electric Piano, Organ - Harry Whitaker
Producer - Jerry Schoenbaum
Sitar [Electric Sitar] - Jerry Friedman
Trombone - Garnett Brown
Trumpet - Cecil Bridgewater , Jimmie Owens
Vibraphone, Organ, Vocals, Percussion - Roy Ayers
Vocals - Dee Dee Bridgewater

Recorded at Electric Lady Studios, New York, July 1973