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While Roy Ayers has never lacked ideas or inspiration, he has lacked, in recent years, a decent recording budget to make those ideas truly come to life. A case in point is Perfection on the AIM label. Here are 13 new tracks, all but one are single-word titles. The mood overall is light, relaxing, groove-based, and full of open spaces. The trouble lies in how Ayers' production ideas -- the use of synth drums, samples, and plenty of compression -- are hurt by his lack of being able to use them sonically. This set sounds like a demo tape or a rehearsal, not because the music is lightweight, because it's not., but because it simply sounds bad, incomplete, like the mix never happened, like the gear wasn't up to speed. Ayers is the king of slippery, feel-good grooves and was the father of "smooth jazz", though his has always been infinitely more complex and harmonically engaging. But he's always had the technical space to make his beautiful tunes come to life. Not so on Perfection; everything sounds flat, unfinished, not cared for properly. It's too bad because there are some tunes here that really get it right. such as "Bags" (given the heavy vibraphone in the cut , one has to wonder if it is a tribute to Milt Jackson and his years in the Modern Jazz Quartet). It's beautifully arranged and subtly played. Another standout is the breakbeat funk in "Steppin'." In all, Perfection is anything but; it's a disappointment, but not for lack of inspiration.