2 LPs on 1 CD: DADDY BUG (1969)/VIRGO VIBES (1967).
Includes liner notes by Leonard Feather.
Personnel includes: Roy Ayers (vibraphone); Herbie Hancock (piano); Sonny Sharrock (guitar); Buster Williams, Ron Carter (bass); Mickey Rocca, Freddie Waits, Bruno Carr (drums).
Originally released on Atlantic (1538).
Personnel: Roy Ayers (vibraphone); Joe Henderson, Harold Land (tenor saxophone); Charles Toliver (trumpet); Ronnie Clark, Jack Wilson (piano); Reggie Workman, Buster Williams (bass); Bruno Carr, Donald Bailey (drums).
Originally released on Atlantic (1488).
Personnel: Roy Ayers (vibraphone); Sonny Sharrock (guitar); Joe Henderson (tenor saxophone); Herbie Hancock, Jack Wilson (piano); Donald Bailey , Frederick Waits, Bruno Carr (drums).
Liner Note Author: Leonard Feather.
Arranger: William S. Fischer.
Roy Ayers recorded these sessions in the midst of his four years working with Herbie Mann on some of the flutist's best work. Produced by Mann, the music shows the two sides to the vibist that have been evident throughout his career: one the probing jazz artist, the other a performer with more commercial tendencies. The Virgo Vibes session from 1967 -- with tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson and trumpeter Charles Tolliver -- opens with its best track, Tolliver's "The Ringer," a piece in the same vein as the advanced hard bop of the trumpeter's big band, Music Inc. Gerald Wilson's "In the Limelight," another highlight, features a strong, imaginative solo from Ayers. Harold Land supplants Henderson on two tracks, including Ayers' "Virgo Vibes," a good medium-tempo extended blues. For the more commercially inclined Daddy Bug from 1969, the leader is joined by pianist Herbie Hancock, bassists Buster Williams and Ron Carter, and other notables, including drummer Freddie Waits. Guitarist Sonny Sharrock is on one track, contributing an innocuous accompaniment part rather than his trademark shredding. William Fischer's arrangements include some effective string and woodwind section work. The tracks are relatively short, notably the title number, a good piece that, unfortunately, trails off too soon. With its supply of better tracks outnumbering the more mundane and an impressive roster of players, there is enough here to sustain listener interest. All of these players, though, have turned in more impressive work elsewhere, including Ayers on Mann's classic fusion release Memphis Underground. ~ Jim Todd
Though Roy Ayers was originally a pianist, his career took off after he picked up the vibraphone in the 1960s. With his group Ubiquity--which featured heavyweights such as Herbie Hancock and Ron Carter--Ayers made some of the finest jazz/funk fusion records of the 1970s. He worked with Afrobeat godfather Fela Kuti in the early '80s and later collaborated with Guru for the first installment of the rapper's JAZZMATAZZ series. His unique style has had a tremendous influence on numerous genres from hip-hop and disco to acid jazz and funk.