Jazz

Roy Ayers “He’s Coming” (1972)

It takes about 20 seconds for you to realise that this is one heavy record. The opening keys and vocals on the reverential opener “He’s a Superstar” just kill it and the music doesn’t let up too much on the rest of the LP. So many great moments from Roy and Harry Whitaker here. I mean “We Live In Brooklyn Baby” is as good as it gets and “Sweet Tears” is one of those Roy Ayers jams designed to get you moving. In the 70’s this pairing had a formula down and worked it to the maximum without ever sounding tired or, amazingly for that matter, repetetive. One of the great songwriting partnerships in music. There are so many great Ubiquity LP’s from this period and you cannot go wrong with any of the classics as they all contain a killer track or two. I would say that this and the less heralded Virgo Red are the pick though. –Jon

Donald Byrd “Places and Spaces” (1975)

Donald Byrd made the transition from Bop trumpeter to jazz funk artist seemlessly and in the mid seventies he teamed up with the hottest producers in the genre, the Mizell brothers. This is the peak of their work together and is a jazz funk classic. Some traditional jazz critics never forgave Byrd for the switch accusing him of selling out. Nonsense and a narrow minded approach. Sure this is not jazz music but it doesn’t pretend to be either. It is simply fantastic jazz funk with the signature Mizell sound. As with all Mizell productions it is essentially their show and the sound is as familiar as ever. Characteristic vocal harmonies and well placed horn and string arrangements all feature heavily. What makes this Mizell LP stand out though is Byrd’s work on the trumpet. He had fully embraced this new genre by now and was the perfect player for this session. There are too many classics here to discuss but special mention must go to the opening two cuts “Dominoes” and “Change (makes You Want To Hustle).” –Jon

John Coltrane “A Love Supreme” (1965)

For the curious: This is the greatest jazz album ever recorded. For those in the know: This is not the greatest jazz album ever recorded. For Ornette Coleman, Eric Dolphy, Andrew Hill, Charlie Mingus, and Miles: You know I love you guys, but… the curious might be on to something… –Will

Terry Callier “What Color Is Love” (1973)

Quite simply one of the greatest records ever made. I cannot believe that it does not get greater attention. It really is the perfect marriage of soul and folk. Callier’s songs are at times joyous and at others surreal and almost sad. They are all delivered in one of the most gentle yet expressive voices there is. Another major part of this album is the production and arrangement of Charles Stepney who was the producer at Chess/Cadet records at the time. He has a wonderful sound that has influenced the likes of 4 Hero heavily in todays age. He is also heard producing the Rotary Connection classics from the same label. –Jon