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Roy Ayers Ubiquity – 1973 – Red, Black & Green

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Beautiful, groovy vibes that highlight the true spirit of jazz-funk and let the senses flow under the pan-african colours.

Classic Roy Ayers album featuring deep jazz legend Harry Whitaker on keyboards alongside Strata East musicians Charles Tolliver and Sonny Fortune! Funky deep early 1970s soulful jazz and jazz-funk!

Tracks
A1 Ain’t No Sunshine 6:20
A2 Henceforth 3:53
A3 Day Dreaming 5:32
B1 Red Black & Green 4:43
B2 Cocoa Butter 4:50
B3 Rhythms Of Your Mind 3:08
B4 Papa Was A Rolling Stone 5:32

By the early ’70s, jazz musicians from Rahsaan Roland Kirk to Grover Washington, Jr. to Grant Green were filling their albums with bold reinterpretations of contemporary pop and R&B songs, but few of them hit the sort of trifecta Roy Ayers Ubiquity nailed on Red, Black & Green.

Bookended by a slick but brooding version of Bill Withers’ ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ and a staggeringly funky take on the Norman Whitfield/Barrett Strong classic ‘Papa Was a Rolling Stone’, with a glimmering ether frolic through Aretha Franklin’s ‘Day Dreaming’ dropped in to close side A, Ayers’ improv-heavy yet pop-hook-tight ensemble picked up where He’s Coming left off. It made his soul-jazz bonafides powerful enough to go toe-to-toe with whatever the great songwriters and arrangers of soul could concoct at their peaks.

The album also features some of his most unapologetically heavy-funk-skewing material, from the title track’s black liberation anthem to the joint-dislocating groove of ‘Cocoa Butter’. Of particular note is the spectacular rhythmic rapport between Ayers’ solos and the drumming of Dennis Davis – the latter providing a beat that could roll out an entire avalanche on the one, as also heard later in the decade sitting behind the kit for David Bowie from Young Americans through Scary Monsters.