Roy Ayers Virgin Ubiquity II

The partnership between Roy Ayers and BBE Records continues to pay dividends. This is a more consistent collection than their first disc, released last year. There may be no obvious singles, but it’s a better listen overall with a more up-tempo set of tunes. This collection of previously unreleased material spans 1976 to ’81, and seems to be drawn from years closer to the ’80s than the first, yielding for some upfront, funky tunes with only a passing glance at jazz. "Holiday,” the first tune, is a stirring song that calls for the establishment of a holiday for Martin Luther King, while "Tarzan” is one of Ayers’ densest percussion workouts on record. Also interesting are a couple of tracks done in alternate versions, namely "The Third Time” and "Sunshine,” both of which shine new light on the originals. In particular, the demo of "Sunshine” features a tougher rim shot pattern than the classic cut — this is a sample waiting to happen. Will BBE will ever put out a volume of pre-1976 material? Universal has certainly issued a few tasty nuggets over the years, so a whole album would be great! (BBE)