Roy Ayers / Roy Ayers Ubiquity

Ubiquity

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AllMusic Review by

Roy Ayers' leap to the Polydor label inaugurates his music's evolution away from the more traditional jazz of his earlier Atlantic LPs toward the infectious, funk-inspired fusion that still divides critics and fans even decades after the fact. Although Ubiquity maintains one foot in Ayers' hard bop origins, the record favors soulful grooves and sun-kissed textures that flirt openly and unapologetically with commercial tastes. Several cuts feature the male/female vocals that would become a hallmark of subsequent Ubiquity efforts, while mid-tempo instrumentals like "Pretty Brown Skin" and "The Painted Desert" feature evocatively cinematic arrangements and intriguing solos that unfurl like psychedelic freak flags. The crack supporting cast including bassist John Williams, keyboardist Harry Whitaker, and drummer Alphonso Mouzon proves equally effective on high-energy numbers like "Can You Dig It" and the Nat Adderley-penned "Hummin' in the Sun," which point the way to the mind-expanding funk Ayers would perfect across the sessions to follow. An outstanding record.

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