Review: The legendary Roy Ayers has a wealth of great material to his name but Virgin Ubiquity: Unreleased Recordings 1976-1981 might just be the cream of the crop. It's packed with gold that fuses soul and funk, jazz and disco into a load of killer cuts that never got their own release. There are husky vocal tracks featuring Merry Clayton on "Oh What A Lonely Feeling," "I Really Love You" and "What's the T?", sensual soul stirrers from Carla Vaughn such as "Mystic Voyage" and "Together Forever" and of course liquid synths and rhythm sections underpinning each of the tracks.
Review: Expansion's latest must-check seven-inch mines Roy Ayers' 1983 album "Lots Of Love", a sparkling post-disco set that combined the vibraphonist's usual jazz-funk flavours with colourful synthesizers and genuine boogie flavours. "Everybody" on the A-side is particularly potent; a lolloping synth-boogie head-nodder rich in life-affirming synthesizer squelches, rubbery jazz-funk bass, fluid Ayers vibraphone solos and background vocals that sneakily reference "Everybody Loves The Sunshine". Flipside "And Then We Were One" is if anything even more summery in feel, with mazy synth and vibraphone motifs dancing atop a killer jazz-funk groove. It's a little more up-tempo than the A-side, but arguably a little less addictive.
Review: When it comes to offering up seven-inch singles of tracks taken from classic or sought-after albums, Dynamite Cuts has an impressive track record. They're at it again here, this time mining Roy Ayers and Wayne Henderson's 1978 jazz-funk/disco fusion masterpiece "Step Into Our Life". On the A-side you'll find the languid, loose and groovy title track, a memorable affair in which dueling vibraphone and trumpet solos make merry atop a head-nodding, toe-tapping jazz-funk groove. Flipside "For Real" is a little more energetic and loved-up, with touchy-feely vocals, husling slap-bass and sci-fi synths to the fore.
Review: Call Me: Jazz from the Penthouse presents previously unreleased live recordings from jazz pianist Jack Wilson and his quartet. Wilson is best known for working with majors lie kAtlantic and Blue Note and here worked with a then-young Roy Ayers in Seattle in the hot summer months of 1966. The tracks take in some classic standards as well as some of the days pop hits. The grooves flow freely, the vibes are perfect accompaniment for dinner time listening sessions and the group features Von Barlow on drums and Buddy Woodson on bass. A fascinating 24 page booklet is also included for extra context.
Pharoah Sanders - "You've Got To Have Freedom" (Opolopo Tweak) (7:12)
Roy Ayers - "We Live In Brooklyn Baby" (Opolopo Tweak) (6:05)
Review: The latest missive on GAMM is something of a biggie. It features two superb reworks of classic cuts by Pharoah Sanders and Roy Ayers courtesy of Opolopo, a house producer whose cuts always have plenty of synth-fired funk and lashings of soul. He brilliantly transforms Sanders' "You've Got To Have Freedom" into a rubbery, Latin-tinged house number, underpinning the original jazz cut - complete with righteous vocals and killer trumpet solos - with an ace new bassline and beefed-up beats. He takes a different approach on his revision of Roy Ayers' "We Live In Brooklyn Baby", re-casting it as a rolling and chunky house number full of suspenseful string parts, twinkling pianos and Ayers' titular vocal.