Hydration for these summer days

The legend himself Roy Ayers

When one thinks of raw funk and jazz rhythms the vibraphone isn’t the first element that usually comes to mind. Not for me at least. No shade against the instrument. The vibraphone is an important part of jazz and a standard component of any percussion section. It’s just not a central instrument in most funk situations. However, Roy Ayers mixing of jazz styles with funk and r&b created tracks that would put the above statements to shame. He is a legend. Not necessarily a consistent legend. The wealth of his work reflects more quantity than quality at times. But the stuff that is good is real good, and important. His jams spawned other memorable jams, and helped lay the foundation for hip hop. Recently I discovered the unreleased track ‘Liquid love’, while exploring  the  2005 released Virgin Ubiquity II: Unreleased Recordings 1976-81. I am always interested in checking out an artists unreleased work, because there are gems to be found in material that fails to meet the low standards of bourgeois popular culture. ‘Liquid love’, featured below, proves to be just that.

The track opens with a rolling bass line that greets the crisp hi-hat and snare beat setting a soulful and funky vibe. Ayers takes his time entering the track, coming in around 30 seconds, adding that signature vibrating wind effect that makes you feel magical and romantic. As the vibraphone’s tempo begins to accelerate the rhythm shifts, and crashes up against joyful vocal harmonies belting ‘liquid love’. I couldn’t help but dance with myself through the spotlights of Oakland sunshine filtering in through my curtains. I felt so damn good; good in the body and in spirit. Perfect track for these days of warmth and sunshine making you want to make love to yourself or your lover or both. Enjoy!



One Comment on “Hydration for these summer days”

  1. Missy says:

    I enjoyed your piece about Roy Ayers. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to see him at the Gem (18th & Vine, KC) this winter. While I hear what you’re sayin about the quantity / quality thing, the experience of seeing him live was indescribable…but I will try. It was funky and laid back, extremely spacey and creative in a controlled, constructed-jazz sort of way. However, my Favorite part of the show was that he had spoken-word artists perform before and during his two sets. The first was Louis Reyes Rivera, who was a wise elder speaking of many of the themes we all are intertwined with (colonialism, diaspora, and the power of music). The other was Jessica Care Moore – I don’t know if you know of her stuff but it is breathtaking and powerful. What a strong, talented womyn! She stole the show for me.

    Your writings remain wonderful and thought + action-provoking.

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