Whenever someone makes the transition from jazz instrumentalist to R&B singer, he/she is bound to be lambasted by jazz purists and denounced as a sellout. Roy Ayers was no exception – like George Benson, George Duke, and Patrice Rushen, Ayers was frequently attacked by jazz's hardcore in the late '70s for turning away from instrumental jazz and making vocal-oriented soul and funk his main focus. But what didn't interest jazz snobs excited R&B lovers, who found a lot to admire about Vibrations and other Ayers albums from that period. This 1976 LP boasted the moody hit "Searching," which has jazz overtones but is essentially an R&B song, and the title track which has become nothing less less than a funky soul classic…
Here you have three absolutely breathtaking jazz performers locked into a studio for a day or so. From this combination of guitar, standup bass, and acoustic drum kit, you've got nine tracks of sheer jazz joy – three guys just blowing for the hell of it, recorded on the fly. There's a strong sense here that engineer Rob Eaton probably tried to get everybody properly set up and balanced before the session started and just gave up when everybody started playing. It's a delight to hear, because everything has gone into the performance, which is spontaneous and graceful – no going back for the next take here. Pat Metheny's playing is definitely modernistic, highly fluid, almost liquid lightning – no effects boxes here, though (he does play Synclavier on the last track, "Three Flights Up," but it's great anyway). Roy Haynes, likewise, should be heard by anybody wanting to get behind the traps: this man has a sense of humor, and he's a blur of motion. Dave Holland, on bass, is no slouch either, keeping pace with Metheny's guitar lines, and balancing up against Haynes' drums. Together, these guys are incredible.
This brand new CD album, A Love So Beautiful: Roy Orbison with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, infuses Orbison’s best original vocal performances, consisting of hits and fan favourites such as “Oh, Pretty Woman,” “Crying” and “Only the Lonely,” with the emotion and world-class musicianship of the Royal Philharmonic, London’s most notable orchestra. In addition, Roy’s sons Wesley (guitar), Roy Jr. (guitar) and Alex (drums) provided instrumental backing on selected tracks, along with ten-month-old grandson Roy III (guitar, tambourine).
For Roy Goodman's various roles in the project assume Toad-like proportions. Founder of the Brandenburg Consort, Goodman is not at all content merely to direct these performances but also plays solo violin, violino piccolo and viola as well as penning lively accompanying notes. Well, readers may rest assured that I'm no Badger and am inclined to applaud Goodman's diversity of talent rather than otherwise.