As Roy Ayers ventured in to the 1970’s fusion sound laced with vocals and electric instruments with Ubiquity, this album exemplifies Roy Ayers as a jazz vibraphonist, as if you ever had any doubt. This album was unique, recorded during the brief period where Roy Ayers was had ventured out from under the wing of Herbie Mann and began to record as a front man, but it was before he was recording with Ubiquity. Recorded in 1968, Roy Ayers had compiled a young all-star team of sorts, as many of the musicians featured on this album would eventually go on to have extremely successful careers, most of whom still play and perform today in 2012. Stoned Cold Picnic features a 31 year old Ron Carter and/or a 21 year old Miraslav Vitos on Bass, a 28 year old Gary Bartz on saxophone, a 29 year old Hubert Laws, who is prominently featured on flute, a 28 year old Herbie Hancock on piano, a 27 year old Charles Tolliver on trumpet and flugelhorn, and Grady Tate who was the eldest, playing the drums at 36 years of age.
This album highlights many facets of jazz while playing acoustic instruments. You hear things like a bossa nova sound on Wave, and on What the People Say, you can hear a bit of the mystic Roy Ayers sound which was to come in the 1970’s, but is still very much of a lounge sound. The title track Stoned Soul Picnic, which is a cover of the song with the same title by 5th Dimension, is a dip into the jazz/soul sound with a straight beat and steady groove.
If you haven’t heard this masterpiece by Roy Ayers, now is your chance to experience one of Roy’s greatest recordings with some of the most esteemed names in jazz. Stoned Soul Picnic was truly a special moment in time.