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 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).
Universal Togetherness Band – Universal Togetherness Band
Vinyl rip in 24 bit 192 khz | Art at 300 dpi
24-bit 192 khz – 1.57 GB | 24 bit 96 khz – 838 MB | 281 MB 16-bit 44.1 khz
Numero Groupo NUM57 | Released 2015 | Funk – Soul – Jazz-Funk
Dr. Vibes’ Twelve Days of Christmas – Day 4: Numero Group are the reigning kings of releasing “lost” music. I have joked in the past, among select company of course, that on occasion some of that music probably could have remained lost. But it is clearly a labor of love for them, and the fine attention to detail in the research, liner notes, rare photos, and decent audio restoration and mastering more than compensates for the occasional lackluster release (and, of course, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure etc.) But whereas a great deal of Numero’s lost music is usually comprised 7″ singles by singers or groups who may have had a local or regional fan base, released by indie labels in numbers small enough to be destined for 21st-century audio archeologists, The Universal Togetherness Band is another story – an entire album of material, recorded in pristine quality as a student project through the audio engineering program at Columbia College in Chicago (a small arts college with a strong practical, ‘hands-on’ component, for kids who can’t afford the elite Art Institute down the street..). The end result was top-notch jazz-funk-disco-soul that would have fit nicely with any of the groups on the De-Lite Records roster or a similar outfit. Continue reading
Herbie Mann – Live at the Whisky A Go Go
Vinyl rip in 24 bit 192 khz | Art at 300 dpi
1.22 GB 24-192 khz| 24 bit 96 khz – 611 MB | 211 MB 16-bit 44.1 khz
Atlantic SD 1536 | Released 1969 | Soul-jazz / jazz-funk / fusion
Dr. Vibes’ Twelve Days of Christmas – Day 2:
I am not sure that anyone feels as passionately one way or another about Herbie Mann as they do about, say, marmite or The Grateful Dead, but he certainly seems to divide people. Adjectives like “lightweight” and “phony” have been thrown around when I’ve posted his work here. His recording output was prolific and many titles are very common, lining the cut-out bins of many a trusty record shop. But one thing is hard to deny – he sure could put together a solid lineup when he wanted to. I mean just look at the list of musicians on this. Miroslav Vitous and Roy Ayers? Sonny Sharrock? Since I mentioned him in yesterday’s 12 Days of Christmas post, I figured this album would provide some continuity. But in truth Sharrock is pretty under-utilized – he plays chunky rhythm guitar through all but the last few minutes of the album, where he takes an abrupt free jazz solo on Rufus Thomas’ “Philly Dog”. Makes me laugh a little every time I hear it. The first side of the album is a stretched out jam of a song written by Chris Hills (of the group Everything Is Everything) which appeared on a Vanguard Apostolic album in the same year of 1969. So I guess it is no coincidence that group’s second (and final) studio album was produced by Herbie Mann and issued on his vanity label, Embryo Records.
Larry Coryell – Coryell
1969 Vanguard Apostolic VSD 6547 | Vinyl rip in 24 bit 196 khz | Art at 600 and 300 dpi
Jazz-Rock / Jazz-Funk / Soul / Fusion / Psychedelic
I’ve been holding back on posting about this album until I could commemorate the 10th ANNIVERSARY of this blog. It’s a very special record to me from the great guitarist Larry Coryell, who passed away in 2017. It’s unique in that it captures him in a kind of transition between his time playing in the psychedelic rock group The Free Spirits and his future as an icon of jazz fusion, in the pre-Bitches Brew era when that genre was still fresh and nascent. And it’s soul-shaking, mind-melting grooviness from start to finish. I like to imagine that Hendrix heard this album and decided to shelve the Experience on the spot and start up his Band of Gypsies. Bernard “Pretty” Purdie on the drums and Chuck Rainey on bass are holding down a solid soul groove here, which just elevates the vibe to transcendent levels. Continue reading
It’s been a year since the last Flabbergasted Freeform, and ten months since the last “Focus” podcast of old calypso and soca. There are a bunch of reasons why I didn’t feel like doing them any more, but I won’t go into them here. But since this month marks the TEN YEAR ANNIVERSARY of the blog, I thought it called for some special commemorations. This Freeform mix was done in December of last year and was only circulated privately. It’s a good time, though, so I’m sharing it with the world now and hope the world enjoys it. The first person to find the couple bars of “Them Changes” quoted in another song gets a free Secret Decoder Ring. That is, as soon as I get them from the magazine I ordered where I ordered a dozen of these powerful devices, which happened to be a back issue from 1958, so please be patient.
You can stream the podcast at Mixcloud or get it directly from the link below the widget.