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10 Sep 2016

Roy Ayers Ubiquity ‎ “He’s Coming” 1972 US Funk soul jazz masterpiece















Roy Ayers Ubiquity ‎ “He’s Coming”  1972 US  ultra rare  Funk soul jazz masterpiece…!
Another classic Roy Ayers jazz-funk LP, this time from 1972. The arrangement of tracks is by the band’s keyboard player and Black Renaissance man Harry Whitaker. Includes “We Live In Brooklyn” and the Nu Yorican Soul covered “Sweet Tears”….

He’s Coming captures Roy Ayers at the absolute top of his game, masterminding jazz-funk grooves as taut as a tightrope. Profoundly inspired by the Broadway musical Jesus Christ Superstar (and including a reading of the soundtrack’s “I Don’t Know How to Love Him”), the album is a deeply felt exploration of Ayers’ spiritual and social beliefs, celebrating the life and rebirth of Jesus with “He’s a Superstar” and its follow-up title cut before delivering the equally impassioned political manifesto “Ain’t Got Time to Be Tired,” a wake-up call for slumbering revolutionaries. Aided by an exemplary backing unit featuring saxophonist Sonny Fortune, bassist John Williams, keyboardist Harry Whitaker, and drummer Billy Cobham, Ayers channels the intensity of his message into his music, creating the most vibrant and textured music of his career to date. The atmospheric “We Live in Brooklyn, Baby” is an absolute masterpiece, a haunting hybrid of jazz, funk, and soul that exemplifies the Ayers aesthetic at its most far-reaching and inventive….by allmusic…..
One of the rarest and greatest Roy Ayers albums of all time – the sly, funky and spiritual masterpiece He’s Coming – really the beginning of the funk years from Roy Ayers Ubiquity! This one’s a totally solid mix of soulful jazz, jazzy soul and righteous funk – and it’s straight up wonderful all the way through – with a groove that’s hugely influential to say the least! Includes the amazing track “We Live In Brooklyn Baby“, which has a slow sample bassline in the intro that’s just incredible – plus groovy cuts like the spiritual funk classic “He’s a Superstar“, “He’s Coming“, and “Sweet Tears“. The lineup includes Sonny Fortune on soprano sax and flute and Billy Cobham drums and percussion, and the record’s co-arranged by Harry Whitaker, who’s also on keys and vocals – with other tracks include “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother”, “Ain’t Got Time”, “I Don’t Know How To Love Him”, “Sweet Butterfly Of Love” and “Fire Weaver”. Amazing stuff, really a beautiful encapsulation of Roy Ayers in peak form! (Dusty Groove)……..

ArraThis is probably the least ubiquitous of the Roy Ayers Ubiquity albums. Much raw than later efforts, and pretty trippy with a Jesus-freak vibe saturating a lot of the tunes It’s not really a concept album, though, but almost. It includes a cover of a tune from Jesus Christ Superstar (“I Don’t Know How To Love Him”) and the famous Hollies tune “He’s Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother,” which has been covered by seemingly everyone since it was first recorded, including Cher the year before Ayers. But Donny Hathaway also recorded in 1971, and I’d like to think Roy and Co. were listening to Donny and not Cher when they thought of this arrangement. Keyboardist Harry Whitaker also arranges two songs, including his own “We Live In Brooklyn Baby” which is the strongest, leanest, and song on the album.

And oh yeah, Billy Cobham is pounding the skins on this album. He is playing in stealth mode, however, almost hard to believe he had just joined up with the bombastic Mahavishnu Orchestra or that his own over-the-top ‘Spectrum’ was in the works. Here, he behaves himself. The whole records alternating frantic-mellow dynamic is a welcome holiday-season elixir, and the title track features dueling-keyboard work from Whitaker and Ayers that is undelicately ……..

Once one of the most visible and winning jazz vibraphonists of the 1960s, then an R&B bandleader in the 1970s and ‘80s, Roy Ayers’ reputation s now that of one of the prophets of acid jazz, a man decades ahead of his time. A tune like 1972’s “Move to Groove” by the Roy Ayers Ubiquity has a crackling backbeat that serves as the prototype for the shuffling hip-hop groove that became, shall we say, ubiquitous on acid jazz records; and his relaxed 1976 song “Everybody Loves the Sunshine” has been frequently sampled. Yet Ayers’ own playing has always been rooted in hard bop: crisp, lyrical, rhythmically resilient. His own reaction to being canonized by the hip-hop crowd as the “Icon Man” is tempered with the detachment of a survivor in a rough business. “I’m having fun laughing with it,” he has said. “I don’t mind what they call me, that’s what people do in this industry.”

Growing up in a musical family – his father played trombone, his mother taught him the piano – the five-year-old Ayers was given a set of vibe mallets by Lionel Hampton, but didn’t start on the instrument until he was 17. He got involved in the West Coast jazz scene in his early 20s, recording with Curtis Amy (1962), Jack Wilson (1963-1967), and the Gerald Wilson Orchestra (1965-1966); and playing with Teddy Edwards, Chico Hamilton, Hampton Hawes and Phineas Newborn. A session with Herbie Mann at the Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach led to a four-year gig with the versatile flutist (1966-1970), an experience that gave Ayers tremendous exposure and opened his ears to styles of music other than the bebop that he had grown up with.

After being featured prominently on Mann’s hit Memphis Underground album and recording three solo albums for Atlantic under Mann’s supervision, Ayers left the group in 1970 to form the Roy Ayers Ubiquity, which recorded several albums for Polydor and featured such players as Sonny Fortune, Billy Cobham, Omar Hakim, and Alphonse Mouzon. An R&B-jazz-rock band influenced by electric Miles Davis and the Herbie Hancock Sextet at first, the Ubiquity gradually shed its jazz component in favor of R&B/funk and disco. Though Ayers’ pop records were commercially successful, with several charted singles on the R&B charts for Polydor and Columbia, they became increasingly, perhaps correspondingly, devoid of musical interest.

In the 1980s, besides leading his bands and recording, Ayers collaborated with Nigerian musician Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, formed Uno Melodic Records, and produced and/or co-wrote several recordings for various artists. As the merger of hip-hop and jazz took hold in the early '90s, Ayers made a guest appearance on Guru’s seminal Jazzmatazz album in 1993 and played at New York clubs with Guru and Donald Byrd. Though most of his solo records had been out of print for years, Verve issued a two-CD anthology of his work with Ubiquity and the first U.S. release of a live gig at the 1972 Montreux Jazz Festival; the latter finds the group playing excellent straight-ahead jazz, as well as jazz-rock and R&B. — Richard S. Ginell, All Music………..
It takes about 20 seconds for you to realise that this is one heavy record. The opening keys and vocals on the reverential opener “He’s a Superstar” just kill it and the music doesn’t let up too much on the rest of the LP. So many great moments from Roy and Harry Whitaker here. I mean “We Live In Brooklyn Baby” is as good as it gets and “Sweet Tears” is one of those Roy Ayers jams designed to get you moving. In the 70’s this pairing had a formula down and worked it to the maximum without ever sounding tired or, amazingly for that matter, repetetive. One of the great songwriting partnerships in music. There are so many great Ubiquity LP’s from this period and you cannot go wrong with any of the classics as they all contain a killer track or two. I would say that this and the less heralded Virgo Red are the pick though. –Jon……

precious.nged By – Harry Whitaker, Roy Ayers
Backing Vocals – Carol Smiley, Gloria Jones, Victoria Hospedale
Bass – John Williams (8) (tracks: 1 to 5, 7 to 9), Ron Carter (tracks: 6)
Congas – Jumma Santos
Drums – David Lee, Jr.
Drums, Percussion – Billy Cobham
Electric Piano, Organ, Vocals – Harry Whitaker
Guitar – Bob Fusco (tracks: 6), Sam Brown (2) (tracks: 1 to 5, 7 to 9)
Soprano Saxophone, Flute – Sonny Fortune
Strings – Selwart Clarke
Vibraphone, Organ, Vocals – Roy Ayers

Producer – Ed Kolis (tracks: 6), Myrnaleah Williams
Engineer – Rudy Van Gelder

1 He’s A Superstar 5:35
2 He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother 4:04
3 Ain’t Got Time 2:53
4 I Don’t Know How To Love Him 4:02
5 He’s Coming 6:20
6 We Live In Brooklyn Baby 3:43
7 Sweet Butterfly Of Love / Sweet Tears 5:20
9 Fire Weaver 3:40

discgraphy
Virgo Vibes, Atlantic, 1967.

Stone Soul Picnic, Atlantic, 1968.

Daddy Bug, Atlantic, 1969.

(With Herbie Mann) Memphis Underground, Atlantic, 1969.

Roy Ayers: Ubiquity, Polydor, 1971.

He’s Coming, Polydor, 1972.

Virgo Red, Polydor, 1973.

Change Up the Groove, Polydor, 1974.

A Tear to a Smile, Polydor, 1975.

Red, Black and Green, Polydor, 1975.

Mystic Voyage, Polydor, 1976.

Vibrations, Polydor, 1976.

Everybody Loves the Sunshine, Polydor, 1976.

Lifeline, Polydor, 1977.

Let’s Do It, Polydor, 1978.

You Send Me, Polydor, 1978.

Step into Our Life, Polydor, 1978.

Fever, Polydor, 1979.

No Stranger to Love, Polydor, 1980.

Africa, Center of the World, Polydor, 1981.

Love Fantasy, Polydor, 1981.

Feeling Good, Polydor, 1982.

In the Dark, Columbia, 1984.

You Might Be Surprised, Columbia, 1985.

I’m the One (for Your Love Tonight), Columbia, 1987.

Wake Up, Ichiban, 1989.

Double Trouble, Ichiban, 1992.

(With Guru) Jazzmatazz, 1993.

Evolution: The Polydor Anthology, Polydor, 1995.

Naste, RCA, 1995.

Live at the Montreux Jazz Festival, Verve, 1996.

Soul Essentials: Best of Roy Ayers, Polydor, 1997.

In the Dark/You Might Be Surprised, Columbia, 1998.

Juice, Charly, 1999.

Lots of Love, Charly, 1999.

The Millennium Collection, Polydor, 2000.

Live at Ronnie Scott’s, Castle, 2001. 

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..

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