Another accomplished performance from multi-talented jazz-funker.
Daryl Easlea 2010
You Send Me was US vibraphonist and bandleader Roy Ayers’ 19th album. His remarkable productivity during the 70s has to be applauded. He had released not one, not two, but three albums between this and his career-defining Everybody Loves the Sunshine, which emerged just 24 months earlier.
But his prolific output did not reflect in any loss of quality. You Send Me marked Polydor’s stealth marketing of him as a mainstream dance figure, which was to reach its zenith with a string of minor UK chart hits at the turn of the 80s.
You Send Me saw the addition of Carla Vaughn to his band, Ubiquity, and her high-pitched, honeyed vocal adds extra dimension to the title-track. The combination of both singers’ tones makes their version of the Sam Cooke number a late-night soul radio standard.
Working with his regular players Philip Woo (providing that wonderful, off-kilter piano) and percussionist Chano O’Ferral, You Send Me also featured drummer Dennis Davis, who had recently been working with David Bowie and accomplished session vocalist (and singer in her own right) Merry Clayton.
You Send Me is not dissimilar to the Everybody Loves the Sunshine album, made explicit by its reworking of It Ain’t Your Sign, It’s Your Mind. Get on Up, Get on Down was Ayers’ biggest UK chart hit to date (number 41 in 1978). It’s the sound of Roy indeed getting down, with some of the strangeness of his early work removed. Everytime I See You is the sweet, honey-kissed follow-on to We Live in Brooklyn, Baby.
While there was little here of the jazz that had initially endeared Ayers to audiences, there was more than enough hard-line jazz-funk and dancefloor touches to keep his legions of fans entertained. Piano figures and horn riffs appear that were the sound of discerning clubs, proving Ayers to be a credible alternative to commercial disco.
You Send Me furthered Roy Ayres’ role as poster boy for the discerning soul fan. It especially consolidated his fan base in southern England, whose ongoing support gives him sell-out shows year after year in venues such as London’s Jazz Café.
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