12 Songs, 50 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

In 1963, 22-year-old Roy Ayers was a vibraphonist in the band of pianist Jack Wilson. Ayers was special because he could provide the exuberance of Lionel Hampton while keeping up with the advanced changes and compositions of post-bop. The influential critic Leonard Feather took notice of Ayers and arranged for him to make his first record as leader. Produced by Feather and released on United Artists, West Coast Vibes features Wilson on piano and the crack rhythm section of bassist Bill Plummer and drummer Tony Bazley. On four tracks, Curtis Amy chips in on tenor sax. The result's a very live-sounding and somewhat straightforward affair, centered on the interplay between Ayers and Wilson. Runs through Monk’s “Well, You Needn’t” and Charlie Parker’s “Donna Lee” display Ayers' astounding dexterity—a quality of paramount importance to Feather and the rest of the jazz establishment circa 1963. But it's the slow blues “Romeo” that highlights the feel for mood that would elevate Ayers' career in the years to come.

EDITORS’ NOTES

In 1963, 22-year-old Roy Ayers was a vibraphonist in the band of pianist Jack Wilson. Ayers was special because he could provide the exuberance of Lionel Hampton while keeping up with the advanced changes and compositions of post-bop. The influential critic Leonard Feather took notice of Ayers and arranged for him to make his first record as leader. Produced by Feather and released on United Artists, West Coast Vibes features Wilson on piano and the crack rhythm section of bassist Bill Plummer and drummer Tony Bazley. On four tracks, Curtis Amy chips in on tenor sax. The result's a very live-sounding and somewhat straightforward affair, centered on the interplay between Ayers and Wilson. Runs through Monk’s “Well, You Needn’t” and Charlie Parker’s “Donna Lee” display Ayers' astounding dexterity—a quality of paramount importance to Feather and the rest of the jazz establishment circa 1963. But it's the slow blues “Romeo” that highlights the feel for mood that would elevate Ayers' career in the years to come.

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