Saturday, November 1, 2008

Roy Ayers - "Live at Arturo's" (2008)

Me and my buddy Tsugu danced up the front at Roy Ayers for a few hours last week, and during the encores backing singer John Pressley came down into the audience swapping these CDs for $20. It's recorded earlier this year at Arturo's Jazz Club in Detroit, seemingly unreleased, but I'll forgo the usual WAV files for a 320 rip so as not to destroy Mr Pressley's entrepreneurship ....

The CD's not as good as the show was, but there's some stuff to be found here. It seems that as the year's progressed, the role of saxophonist / keyboardist / singer Ray Gaskins (anyone got his albums?) has been increased. At the show we saw, he was comping on the rhodes with his right hand while soloing on soprano, alto and tenor sax with the left, and singing like an angel with a few lead spots. Here he's mainly just on sax, and the keyboards are more dominated by the not-as-interesting work by Mark Adams, who favours more 90s-style wavetable synth emulations.

Roy Ayers acts more as party MC and vocalist these days. After 36 years of "Sunshya-yine" he's understandably trying a few new tricks, some of which work better than others. He's playing rubber digital control pads with his mallets, which works ok for marimba sounds, but the sustain on the vibe samples is slightly dodgy.

Occasionally he dials up a synth sound and goes all Jan Hammer with the mallets, but the dynamics are a little flat. There's a 14 minute take of "Night In Tunisia" that starts with a few minutes of Roy's syn-mallet work, but i've excerpted a little later instead :

The night I saw had spectacular work from bassist Donald Nicks and drummer Lee Pearson, with extended solos in Night In Tunisia. There's a lot of visual humour from all the band in the live show that gets a little lost here, such as the entire band towelling Nicks down after his solo.

Anyway, Ayers' sheer enjoyment of playing live and entertaining is infectious for both the band and the audience, and I recommend you catch them live when you can.

"Coffy" (1973) - wav / mp3
at Blaxploitation Jive.


Simon666 said...

Comments are always appreciated.

taro nombei said...

Nice one. Looking forward to this, to revive a few memories. Thanks for this.

djfunkaholic said...

Cheers Simon for the rip.I was also at the Sydney show had a ball- your review is very accurate and helps brings back some great memories.

powerpool said...

The more I am looking into your blog the more amazed I am. You do most certainly hit the right spot for me.
As always: I can't thank you enough for all your efforts and detective-work. Your posts are enriching my (musical) life immensely. I am really getting into this stuff now. Thank you also for all the links and references. Just keep them coming.

cheeba said...

Happy to hear you had such a good time, Simon! I missed Roy when he was in town a few years ago - no press at all and the flyers hit the street the day after. Not even a listing in the free weekly!

So an extra thanks for a peek at how he sounds live these days!

Anonymous said...

great blog! Thank you for the music...glad i found your site...much respect.

motown_jazz said...

I was not able to go to this show, but i can listen to it like I was there. Thank you Simon.

J Thyme...kind said...

Looking for the LP that contains "Running Away". Which one is it?

Simon666 said...

Hey J Thyme,
that's on "Lifeline"

slsmithsr said...

Gonna enjoy this....thanks.

el Slick

Anonymous said...

RapidShare link is down, and so is the Part 2 MediaFire link.

A reupload would be excellent!

Thanks! :-)

Simon666 said...

Re-upped at base of post

Wytse said...

I'm loving this, thanks Simon!