Roy Ayers Ubiquity – Virgo Red (1973) (Polydor PD-6016)

Roy Ayers Ubiquity – Virgo Red
1973 Polydor PD-6016
Vinyl rip in 24-bit/192 kHz | Art scans at 300 dpi

An underrated Roy Ayers Ubiquity album, Virgo Red has to overcome the fact that it leads off with its weakest track, a cover of the Hot Chocolate song “Brother Louie”, which became a #1 hit for Stories and was ruined for all perpetuity by disgraced comedian Louis C.K. Blame it on his time playing with hirsute Herbie Mann if you will, but Roy seemingly couldn’t pass up an opportunity for cheesy covers of pop songs. Continue reading

David Sancious and Tone – Transformation (The Speed of Love) (1976 Epic)

David Sancious and Tone – Transformation (The Speed Of Love)
1976 Epic Records PE 33939| Genre:  Fusion, Jazz-rock, Progressive rock

If, like me, you thought that Incident on 57th Street and New York City Serenade were the high points of Bruce Springsteen’s early career, then you should probably give your attention to musical polymath and chameleon David Sancious.  Sancious was keyboardist for the E. Street Band on their first two albums, and contributed to the title track of Born To Run.  I think it would be a safe claim to say that his sensibility probably helped sculpt the “epic” sound they were crafting, particularly on the longer songs, but if you have The Boss too firmly in mind when putting on this record, you might be jarred by just how dissimilar it seems.  I’ve always been a champion of things eclectic, but Sanscious might be too eclectic for his own good at times.  With his virtuosity on multiple instruments taking front and center stage, it is hard not to marvel at least a little at the breadth of vision, but sometimes they straddle the grey area between stylistic transcendence and plain confusion.  His debut record for Epic (Forest of Feelings, 1975) was produced by none other than legendary jazz-fusion drummer Billy Cobham, and at times the music comes close to holding its own with Return To Forever or Weather Report or Mahavishnu Orchestra, and at other times sounding a bit like a slightly funky Rush without the benefit of no horrible lyrics (everything here is instrumental).

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Airto – Fingers (1973) (CTI Records 6028)

Airto – Fingers
Vinyl rip in 24-bit/192 kHz | FLAC |  Art scans at 300 dpi
1.4GB (24/192) | 865 MB (24/96)
CTI Records 6028| Genre: Fusion, Latin Jazz, Jazz Rock

This post was intended to go up over the weekend as a commemoration to wrap up the Festas Juninas.  “Fingers” is really is a masterpiece from Airto Moreira, one of the progenitors of jazz fusion, with lots of help from future members of the Uruguayan group Opa and, of course, his wife Flora Purim. It is less “out” than his solo records up to this point but still retains enough traces of his wild urges toward surprise and experimentation to keep things interesting. The compositions, about half of which are contributed by Opa members, are accessible enough to instantly grab your attention but are always offering new nuances on repeated listens. How many edgy Latin-Jazz-Fusion albums actually contain EARWORMS in their grooves? This album has tunes you will be whistling to yourself for weeks afterward, in particular the track “Parana.” (more below) Continue reading

Som Três – Som Três Show (1968) (BOM24183)

Som Tres – Som Tres Show (1968)
Original: 1968 Odeon MOFB 3541
Reissue: 2010 Bomba Records, Japan – BOM24183
Originally Odeon MOFB 3541

1. Leonardo
2. Falsa Baiana
3. Amazonas (Keep Talking)
4. The World Goes On
5. The Look Of Love
6. Frevo Rasgado
7. Jungle
8. Sá Marina
9. Watch What Happens
10. Emília
11. Balanço Zona Sul Continue reading

Roy Ayers Ubiquity – Change Up The Groove (1974)

Roy Ayers Ubiquity
Change Up The Groove
Polydor PD 6032

This record probably gets overlooked a bit in favor of the Ubiquity releases that preceded it, but it is solid album.  Any record with Pretty Purdie on the drum kit is a solid album though, amiright? Soulful covers of Stevie Wonder, the Theme From MASH, and Roberta Flack are peppered among the originals. In fact, the latter artist – represented by Eugene McDaniels’ “Feel Like Makin’ Love” – is a particularly homegrown choice, as keyboardist Harry Whitaker was now a regular contributor to Roberta Flack’s group and would work as her arranger for a while.  Actually if I’m being honest, as the longest tune on the album I find it a bit boring, in spite of featuring what sounds like a Mellotron (not credited on the jacket). And the MASH theme (aka Suicide Is Painless) is kind of corny.  The real highlights are the original tunes like Sensitize, Fikisha, and The Boogie Back.  The group’s interpretation of the ubiquitous Stevie’s Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing does take celestial carefree flights of joy and should make you grin.  Don’t be fooled by the worn-out jacket: this Sterling Sound pressing is actually in very nice shape and I think the rip came out pretty good. Stay tuned for more Ubiquity from me this summer Continue reading

Abbey Lincoln & Hank Jones – When There Is Love (1993)

Abbey Lincoln – Hank Jones
When There Is Love
1993 Gitanes Jazz Productions / Verve Records – 314 519 697-2
Genre:Jazz || Style:Bop, Post Bop

I have been wanting to do some posts about the great Abbey Lincoln ever since I started this blog, and yet for some reason it’s never happened.  Let this be the year, then.  I also never would have imagined that I would choose this atypical album as her first entry here.  But there is something very warm, charming, and relaxing about this collaboration with Hank Jones that seems to fit the mixture of exhaustion, laziness, and regeneration of energy to face a new and unknown world that’s marked these first few days of 2019 for me.  We can get into Abbey’s more intense material later, but right now this will do just fine. Continue reading