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May 2006

Roy Ayers
Virgin Ubiquity Remixed
Rapster

There are no doubt many ultrahip, Roy Ayers-lovin’ producers/mixers these days blissfully unaware that Ayers’ vibraphone was first spotlighted in the early 1960s thanks to Leonard Feather, the late producer, author and jazz icon. But it wasn’t long before Ayers changed teams and drifted over to funk, disco, R&B and quiet storm, most notably with his Ubiquity group. Many have never forgiven him for selling out to commercialism—as if musicians aren’t supposed to make money. Hint to that crowd: Stay far, far away from Ayers’s new project, which repurposes his tunes with the help of producers with names like Kenny Dope, Joey Negro and Aloe Blacc.

This two-disc CD—a remix of an earlier album featuring mostly previously unreleased songs—is a natural considering that in the acid-jazz days of the early 1990s Ayers guested on Guru’s groundbreaking Jazzmatazz CD, leading to much sampling of his work by DJs and forward-thinking rap groups like A Tribe Called Quest. The tunes on Virgin Ubiquity Remixed—like “Holiday” and “I Am Your Mind Part II”—for the most part belong in the frenzied, bass-thumping, drum-program-driving class of electronica. But best are the selections that throw some downtempo into the mix, such as “Touch of Class (Matthew Herbert’s Touch of Ass Mix)” and DJ Marky and XRS Remix’s remix of Ayers’ seminal “Mystic Voyage.”

Originally published in May 2006
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