If you were to think of the musical timeline of Roy Ayers, more specifically Roy Ayers Ubiquity, through out the 1970’s it would probably go something like this. In the early 70’s, you would hear jazz mixed with funky rhythms, with a slight hint of psychedelic undertones as electric instruments found their way into his music. By the end of the 1970’s, it was very common to hear Roy Ayers tunes well over 100 bpm, as the sound of disco became a sturdy backbone in the sound of Roy Ayers’ music and outside production.
Simply put, Roy Ayers’ 1976 album Vibrations could be thought of as a combination of the two sounds, as you heard elements of both. Through the mid to late 70’s and early 80’s, Roy Ayers worked closely with producer and arranger Edwin Birdsong, who produced many classic disco funk anthems of his own, including the song Cola Bottle Baby, which Daft Punk sampled for their mega hit Harder, Faster, Stronger, and Kanye West would use for his mega hit, Stronger. Birdsong’s finger prints are all over Roy Ayers’ work throughout the Ubiquity years, and especially in the late 1970’s.
Is Vibrations a Jazz album? Most people would tell you “No”…and some would say that it’s not even close to a jazz album, but when you hear what preceded this album, and what came after this album, and you stand back and really see the entire body of Roy Ayers Ubiquity, you see Vibrations as that brief transitional period between two worlds, a period that was never duplicated and can never be repeated. This album is symbolic of transition…a new sound…progression…growth. This funky, upbeat, polyrhythmic, smooth, fusion mix of soul is hard to put a label on, but what is for sure is that it came from a jazz background, and it is the sound of Roy Ayers Ubiquity.
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Written by: Haylow