Jack Wilson Quartet feat. Roy Ayers (1963) London Atlantic

Selection: Corcovado (Jobim)

.  .  .

“Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars” (The Corcovada mountains of Rio de Janeiro)

Quiet nights of quiet stars
Quiet chords from my guitar
Floating on the silence that surrounds us

Quiet thoughts and quiet dreams
Quiet walks by quiet streams
And a window that looks out on Corcovado
Oh, how lovely

Quero a vida sempre assim (I want life to always be like this.)
Com vocé perto de mim (With you right next to me)
Até o apagar da velha chama. (’till the love ends.)

E eu que era triste (And I who was sad)
Descrente deste mundo (Having lost faith in this world)
Ao encontra você eu conheci (I found you and then I knew)
O que é felicidade, meu amor (what happiness is, my love )

This is where I want to be
Here with you so close to me
Until the final flicker of life’s ember.

I who was lost and lonely believing life was only
A bitter tragic joke, have found with you,
The meaning of existence, oh my love

Corvocado: It’s a love song, not a travel advert. Which is a shame, because it would make a very impressive travel advert.


Roy Ayers, vibes; Jack Wilson, piano; Al McKibbon, bass; Nick Martinis, drums; recorded Los Angeles, CA, February 6, 1963; engineer Richard Bock

Track List

A1 Corcovado (Antonio Carlos Jobim) 4:41
A2 Jackleg 2:29
A3 Blues We Use 6:24
A4 Harbor Freeway 2:55
B1 De Critifeux 5:56
B2 Nirvana & Dana 12:46

Music :
This debut album of Jack Wilson, at 27, is a showcase for virtuoso piano. Wilson’s rapid fire  style is on full display, high on technical execution and energetic attack, accelerating through the tunes with grace and artistry reminiscent of Lennie Tristano and Phineus Newborn. Wilson and Ayers developed a way of blending vibes and piano, where Wilson’s natural lyrical style blends with Roy’s modal approach to a groove.
The Quartet album however has some unremarkable compositions, which are quickly set aside to allow Wilson to shine. Wilson’s tour de force collaboration with Roy Ayers is their later album, Ramblin’ , recorded  three years later, with much stronger material. That album contains an interesting reading of Oliver Nelson’s Stolen Moments, and a rendition of Johnny Mandel’s  Love Theme From The Sandpiper. (Someone looking over my shoulder at recent posts?)
Feat. Roy Ayers“. Vibist Ayers first made a name for himself appearing with many other artists. Dubbed soul funk King of the Vibraphone, Ayers made a steady stream of albums, then under his own name through the 70s. The covers tell you what he was all about: Stone Soul Picnic…Daddy Bug…Starbooty
Wilson’s jazz credentials were only just being established, and his subsequent albums brought him into the Blue Note fold, with a much stronger compositions and line up, including the most excellent Easterly Winds (BNST 84270).



Vinyl:  London Atlantic HAK 8170, released the following year in 1964

Decca’s vintage London label varied between the crimson/silver London American label, and specific label tie-ups, one of which was London Atlantic. At the end of the day they were all mastered from copy tape by Decca at New Malden. British engineering was a high standard, despite the drop of one tape generation from the original, respectable editions, always strong. Our friends across the pond are fortunate to have better access to originals.

US original:  Alantic LP 1406 – red and plum mono Atlantic with black fan on white.

Harry’s Place

Roy Ayers, Montreux, 1971; Al McKibbon, New Victoria Theatre, London, 1971 Remarkable portrait of Ayers, that bead of sweat! Nice one, Harry.

Photo Credits: Harry M

Collector’s Corner

I chanced on this in a London store, condition VG, and as a big Jack Wilson fan,  took it out of interest. All Music awarded it just three stars out of five, arguably on the generous side. Pondering which track to select, my mind was made up by this unequivocal recommendation by someone called “Rockwell”.

Rockwell knows his own mind, has no respect for record covers, and who am I to argue with the judgement of Rockwell? Perhaps I should invite him onto the show.

The  other tracks on Youtube, You be the judge. A mixed bag.

Harbour Freeway

Quite a pleasant romantic melody, but crossed with Flight Of The Bumble Bee speed breaks. Surplus to requirements drum solo.


Nirvana & Dana

Uncomfortable key changes. After a while the arpeggio-fatigue kicks in, Roy Ayers is  a welcome break. Drum solo follows,  gentle mood change at 7:46, one of the better moments.



12 thoughts on “Jack Wilson Quartet feat. Roy Ayers (1963) London Atlantic

  1. love jack wilson… my favorite though is ‘somethig personal’.. a neglected record that is not ‘collectable’, so you can pick it up for 25 dollars… and its all about the song ‘Harbor Freeway 5 p.m.’… no hardbob difficult scales etc… but a beautiful song.. sounds timeless… and Ray Brown on bass on this album, who i normally affiliate with oscar peterson and ella fitzgerald, does some great playing

    • “Something Personal” is also my favorite. I might also suggest the Record Store Day release “Call Me” a 2 record set of a live performance by the Jack Wilson Quartet recorded at The Penthouse in Seattle, Wa. Nice clear sound and both Jack and Roy are in top form.

  2. nice piece on jack wilson and roy. Wanted to highlight two records that are often overlooked. Ramblin’ (why did album designers hate ‘g’?) is an incredible album, on the odd vault label but quite early. Spiritual, funky. one of the strongest for them both. and for roy, my favorite is “He’s Coming” on polydor. He teeters on the more commercial funk stuff but stays grounded in great jazz. two of my faves.

  3. Wanted to Thank You LJC for showcasing this album & I very much Thank You. My issue, & yes, there is an issue, is your lackluster opinion of a few of the tracks.
    I frankly was shocked at how little you thought of ‘Harbour Freeway’ & then ‘Nirvana & Dana’, that was a bit harsh really. I listened to the two aforementioned tracks & ‘De Critifeux’ at least a dozen times. I adore them so much Im looking for a copy as of yesterday. Those three tracks are fantastic, in my opinion. I suggest another listening, with all due respect. Reminds me of McCoy Tyner. Beautiful flowing, happenin’ tracks.

    • Fantastic Joe- I really dig that recording. I have “Something Personal” but been searching for EW- I will look for it in the near future….

  4. As a big fan of “Something Personal”, it was somewhat shocking to discover, as I listened to Easterly Winds, how much I missed the presence of Ayers.

  5. My memory is hazy, but I’m reasonably sure that some of the earlier London Atlantic Jazz titles used US metalwork the same way Esquire and other labels did, I’ve always assumed this was because it was cheaper, safer and easier than sending tape reels overseas as well as avoiding any mastering or playback issues with professional tape recording still in it’s early years. I’m struggling to remember titles, possibly some of the MJQs, unfortunately along with a fading memory I have fading eyesight and looking at matrices is no longer fun.

    • You may well be right, as I have recently found Decca pressings for Interdisk/Riverside with US metal. It isn’t consistent – some are US metal, others are UK mastered, but the use of US metal by Decca is established.

  6. Ayers.

    Sent from my iPhone

    LJC says thank you, Ayers not Ayres. Ayres was the Weatherman Underground, not the vibist. Now all present and correct.

    • Ha ha! Sorry my reply was a bit curt. I simply replied to the email, thinking it would allow you time to correct the spelling before everyone piled in! I hadn’t realised my reply would appear under the post. Best wishes and thank you for your always interesting and amusing website.


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