Roy Ayers / Roy Ayers Ubiquity

Virgo Red

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Despite contributions from an abundance of soul-jazz greats including Dee Dee Bridgewater, Jimmy Owens, and Garnett Brown, Virgo Red is the most stripped-down and nuanced of Roy Ayers' Ubiquity LPs. Its sinuous funk grooves are first and foremost a showcase for the intuitive interplay of Ayers and electric keyboardist Harry Whitaker, whose Fender Rhodes' fills orbit Ayers' vibes' solos like a planet circling the sun. The material is a crazy quilt of righteously soulful originals and deeply funky covers spanning Leroy Hutson's soul classic "Giving Love" to Stories' soft pop smash "Brother Louie" to absolute treacle like The Poseidon Adventure's "The Morning After" -- by all rights it shouldn't work, but as the astrological overtones winding through Virgo Red attest, sometimes the stars align.

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