Roy Ayers

Virgin Ubiquity, Vol. 2: Unreleased Recordings 1976-1981

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Roy Ayers' Virgin Ubiquity, Vol. 2: Unreleased Recordings 1976-1981 is another hodgepodge of demos and outtake cuts that were left off official releases for various reasons. That said, for Ayers fans, the set is consistent. "I Am Your Mind, Pt. 2" is an alternate of the classic, and offers a solid contrast. "Slow Tarzan (Funk in the Hole)" is a slippery little groove track with nothing much behind it except it feels good. "Liquid Love" (a song about kissing) should have surfaced somewhere with its juxtaposition of Rhodes with vibes and strings and a popping backbeat. "Third Time" is a throwaway but has plenty of ambition and a smoking string arrangement by William Allen as well as a solid vocal performance by Carla Vaughn; still, it's a little too loose for Ayers' smooth groove. "Tarzan" is a fusion fest of funk and jazz dance. It burns and is the most driving cut on the set. "I Like the Way You Do It to Me" is as big a throwaway as the title. But "Come to Me," despite its rather raw mix, is a deeply satisfying funk-disco burner, and "Kwajilori" is simply infectious with its keyboard bass and Ayers' vibes taking the melodic idea from South African jive. "Release Yourself" owes plenty to Bootsy and George Clinton -- 'nuff said. The demo version of "Sunshine" that closes the album -- featuring Ayers on vocals -- is rough, but a beautiful foreshadowing of the monster tune that was to come, and is most welcome here. Ultimately, Virgin Ubiquity, Vol. 2 is only going to appeal to the hardcore element in Ayers' fan base, but for those folks, it will come as a welcome addition to his catalog.

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