Freedom Rhythm & Sound: Revolutionary Jazz & The Civil Rights Movement 1963-82 (Soul Jazz Records 219)

Various Artists – Freedom Rhythm & Sound: Revolutionary Jazz & The Civil Rights Movement 1963-82
2009 Soul Jazz Records

I apologize for my absence during these challenging times of turmoil.  The truth is I am exhausted by everything happening in the world, but not anywhere near as exhausted as my black friends, especially those in the United States.  I feel like those who know me, know where I stand. Continue reading

Al Jarreau – Glow (1976)

 

Al Jarreau – Glow
1976 Reprise MS2248
This reissue, late-80’s German CD pressing

There has been another round of recent deaths of talented people in the arts, and I might be tempted to print another list here or to work up a bunch of “tribute” posts on this blog.  But my last post here was a bit ‘heavy’ and I thought I would change things up again for something more upbeat and life-affirming.  If you are the kind of person who sees the tag “vocal jazz” and are about to skip this post, please reconsider.  Many of the best jazz vocalists use their instrument to compliment an ensemble rather than dominate it, and the early Al Jarreau records fall into that camp.  Anyone who only knows Jarreau from his slicker, pop-oriented records from the 1980’s might even be taken aback but just how extremely funky his earlier work could be, yet he was always attuned to popular but soulful melodies that were ripe for improvisational riffing.  Continue reading

Roy Ayers Ubiquity – Everybody Loves The Sunshine (1976) (2016 UMG Gold Reissue)

Roy Ayers Ubiquity – Everybody Loves The Sunshine
Original release 1976 Polydor
2016 Reissue – Polydor / The Verve Music Group B0024310-01

This 40th anniversary gold pressing is a nice reissue of one of the high points of Roy Ayers Ubiquity’s catalog. There is less vibraphone and a lot more Arp on this one. Every song a winner. Also, it seems like only a matter of time before the track “Lonesome Cowboy” gets used in a Coen Brothers film. Or maybe Tarantino. Anyway enjoy it before they ruin it.  The whole album successfully grafts its cosmic jazz-funk onto the kind of broad positivity preached by pre-Riot era Sly Stone (with “People And The World” sounding like a bit like a discarded Family Stone jam).

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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

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

Universal Togetherness Band – Universal Togetherness Band (2015)


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