Since the launch of royayersproject.com in February, we have prided ourselves on presenting many things focusing on the direct and indirect musical connection of the great Roy Ayers. Sometimes we may stray a little too far from the base, but we always manage to reel our visitors back by recognizing the small degrees of separation. With that being said, we are going to begin something new on royayersproject.com, where we make certain that we recognize Roy Ayers himself at least once a week. So today, August 26th, we will mark the first edition of Roy Ayers Friday were we post something that is Roy. Not related to Roy Ayers, not Roy Ayers’ influence, not Roy Ayers’ 3rd cousin, but Roy. This doesn’t mean Roy Ayers posts are limited to Friday’s, this just means that if you check our blog on Friday, you will see something that is Roy Ayers. This is an attempt to remind us and our viewers that Roy Ayers as the indirect focus of our blog, and to bring us all back when we stray away. Roy Ayers will be the bread crumbs on our proverbial journey.
One of Roy Ayers’ earlier albums entitled “Comin’ Home Baby” may be a seldom heard album by Roy Ayers fans, but it is truly a must listen. This album, which only contains two songs, really identifies the the musical roots of Roy Ayers. We all know how far Roy has transcended multiple genres, but this album shows where he came from. Strictly Jazz. Straight-ahead Jazz. No electronic instruments, no frills.
Although Roy Ayers’ sound (in his earlier years) was much more traditional than his Ubiquity years, you can still hear small nuances of “the funk” in Unchain My Heart, which features a real beat centric drum from Bruno Carr, and bassist Miroslav Vitous is right by his side. Although Sony Sharrock‘s subtle acoustic guitar rounds out the quartet, it is an excellent combination of the earliest forms of fusion Jazz.
In A Man and a Woman (a popular song that has been remade many times over) you can really hear the influence of flutist Herbie Mann‘s worldly sound, who was Roy Ayers’ earliest mentors. In the beginning half of the song, you hear elements of Bassa Nova, while in the second portion, Vitous lays down a spanish sounding bass solo, and Sharrock’s guitar gives the notion of a more mystical sound, which can be thought of as a precursor to Roy’s “Ubiquitous” years.
With this being one of Roy Ayers’ first albums where is at the helm, it is a great example of him coming into his own as a young vibraphonist. Knowing what he created for decades to come, and as a retrospective listener, Comin’ Home Baby was a strong foundation for the Roy Ayers we all know and love today.
Written by: Haylow