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Roy Ayers - Virgin Ubiquity: Unreleased Recordings 1976-1981

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The late ‘70s were such a creatively fertile period for Roy Ayers and his associates that many of his finest recordings never made it onto the official releases. Ayers kept the master tapes in storage until Peter Adarkwah of BBE Records in London got wind of them, at which point they were collected on the aptly named Virgin Ubiquity. The songs feature all the different permutations of Roy Ayers’ band, which maintained a core philosophy through shifting rhythm sections and vocalists. The under appreciated Merry Clayton brings a husky edge to Oh What A Lonely Feeling, I Really Love You and What’s the T? her earthy voice contrasting with the liquid textures of Ayers’ arrangement. Carla Vaughn was another of Ayers’ singing vixens, her sensual presence blending seamlessly into Boogie Down, Mystic Voyage and Together Forever. Although performances here rich with detail, it is a pleasure to hear I Just Wanna Give It Up, an uncharacteristically spare arrangement that allows us to study the inner dynamics of the Ayers machine.