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Virgo Red by Roy Ayers
Released: Jan 1973
Label: Verve Reissues
This set from 1973 is still early in the era of Roy Ayers' Ubiquity band, a time when he was expertly combining elements of jazz, soul and funk into a winning whole. It's hard to resist the covers of "Brother Louie" and "The Morning After," while the truly groovy "I Am Your Mind" slowly builds from a jazz tune to funk-rock ecstasy. Fans of Ayers' mystical side should check out "Love From the Sun." Why Ayers stayed in within the confines of the jazz and R&B markets while Earth, Wind and Fire broke through to the larger pop world with similar material may just come down to the craft of songwriting.
Nick Dedina