Virgin Ubiquity: Unreleased Recordings 1976 - 1981

Virgin Ubiquity: Unreleased Recordings 1976 - 1981

After three weeks of hard freeze, of slipping on mutt-stained patches of frost and iced Brooklyn gutters, with December's cigarette butts still suspended in February's frozen amber puddles, the cold snap finally snapped, and thermometers inched above zero degrees. Just to feel the sun cut through the blustery wind promised the approach of spring, and it was then that I relied on vibraphonist Roy Ayers to help soundtrack and celebrate warm weather's imminent return. Best known for "Everybody Loves the Sunshine", Ayers and his vibes are like those same solar rays on your skin; for me, this batch of grooves was a salve for staving off seasonal depression.

Credit: Pitchfork

Artist: Roy Ayers

Genre: Jazz

Label: BBE

Release date:

The late ‘70s were such a creatively fertile period for Roy Ayers and his associates that many of his finest recordings never made it onto the official releases. Ayers kept the master tapes in storage until Peter Adarkwah of BBE Records in London got wind of them, at which point they were collected on the aptly named Virgin Ubiquity. The songs feature all the different permutations of Roy Ayers’ band, which maintained a core philosophy through shifting rhythm sections and vocalists. The under appreciated Merry Clayton brings a husky edge to Oh What A Lonely Feeling, I Really Love You and What’s the T? her earthy voice contrasting with the liquid textures of Ayers’ arrangement. Carla Vaughn was another of Ayers’ singing vixens, her sensual presence blending seamlessly into Boogie Down, Mystic Voyage and Together Forever. Although performances here rich with detail, it is a pleasure to hear I Just Wanna Give It Up, an uncharacteristically spare arrangement that allows us to study the inner dynamics of the Ayers machine.

About the artist

Roy Ayers is an American funk, soul, and jazz composer, vibraphone player, and music producer. Ayers began his career as a post-bop jazz artist, releasing several albums with Atlantic Records, before his tenure at Polydor Records beginning in the 1970s, during which he helped pioneer jazz-funk.

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