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JSngry

Roy Ayers - West Coast Vibes

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Last I looked, this was still on the Mosaic Last Gasp list. I bought it on a whim, and the first listen or two was not overwhelming, but still, nice enough to throw it in the car, where it has been playing for the last two weeks. It's one of those records that you can use as background lifestyle music and/or rewarding detail music. Jack Wilson is a real treat here, especially in his comps on the quartet sides (which have some really sweet Curtis Amy). Roy Ayers himself is playing at a very high level, perhaps the very highest level, of generic, which means that everything fits and is played right better than those who would aspire to his level. In other words, no surprises, but no AAARGHs either.  And again, Curtis Amy is sweeeeet.

At first I had kind of a beef with the drummers, but I got over it once the bigger group picture came into focus - and that's what I'm finding most appealing over the long haul, the group playing. It really gels. If these weren't working bands, they easily could have been.

Throw in two Vi Redd bonus cuts (with Carmel Jones), and carpe diem. It's one of those albums you can easily live without, but once it sinks in, you'll be happy you won't have to.

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5 hours ago, JSngry said:

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Last I looked, this was still on the Mosaic Last Gasp list. I bought it on a whim, and the first listen or two was not overwhelming, but still, nice enough to throw it in the car, where it has been playing for the last two weeks. It's one of those records that you can use as background lifestyle music and/or rewarding detail music. Jack Wilson is a real treat here, especially in his comps on the quartet sides (which have some really sweet Curtis Amy). Roy Ayers himself is playing at a very high level, perhaps the very highest level, of generic, which means that everything fits and is played right better than those who would aspire to his level. In other words, no surprises, but no AAARGHs either.  And again, Curtis Amy is sweeeeet.

At first I had kind of a beef with the drummers, but I got over it once the bigger group picture came into focus - and that's what I'm finding most appealing over the long haul, the group playing. It really gels. If these weren't working bands, they easily could have been.

Throw in two Vi Redd bonus cuts (with Carmel Jones), and carpe diem. It's one of those albums you can easily live without, but once it sinks in, you'll be happy you won't have to.

Agreed - some really nice Curtis Amy contributions on offer ....

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Check out Jack Wilson!

There are some records that are justifiably overlooked in their time, becuse...real time is just that - real. But a lot of these records sound good in a "smaller" way years later because they're not in real time. They don't necessarily need to be compared with all the true bigness around them, they can step into a quiet side room and be heard by themselves, where their modesty becomes them. I think this is such a record.

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Jack Wilson was/is definitely another unsung talent ....

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On July 14, 2017 at 10:55 AM, JSngry said:

...It's one of those records that you can use as background lifestyle music and/or rewarding detail music...

Lots of records are one or the other.  The ones that are both are my favorites. 

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Thanks for the reminder to revisit. It definitely has its charms (another vote for Curtis Amy) but I was reminded that when I first heard it I thought too many of the tracks were on the short side. 7 of 10 less than 4 minutes? Makes it feel like an album of singles. I'd give this ***1/2*, would have been 4.5 with more stretching out.

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Stretching out with this cast on this repertoire might not have preserved the appeal of these performances, imo. I appreciate the unified concept of intent displayed on this record - new artist, debut album, enough familiar (to the target audience) faces, an effective mix of standards and originals programmed in an effective, get in, make a point, and move out, almost 78-ish in a few spots, let's try to please people before we start challenging them. Maybe not the most noble MO, but for a "marketplace" record, not necessarily an ineffective one.

And it goes great in the car, especially on a short commute. Between to and fro, I can cover the whole record. Kinda sweet, that is.

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I can definitely get what you're sayin' there.

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OTOH, I went for decades thinking that Virgo Vibes was Roy Ayers' debut album. So...so much for effective debut album presentation, right? It's like somebody's actual rookie card being some obscure Donruss, something that they made without knowing how the players were going to turn out, just take everybody's picture and throw it on a card, hope that one or two pay off. I think Juan Gonzalez' RC was like that?

OTOH, Curtis Amy better than Juan Gonzalez, and either West Coast Vibes or Virgo Vibes beats the hell out of Donruss, so, hey.

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