Music Portrait | posted 25.06.2020
Roy Ayers
Warm vibrations with universal attraction
The American vibraphonist, singer, songwriter and arranger Roy Ayers is one of the most sampled contemporary musicians. With songs like »Everybody Loves The Sunshine«, the soul jazz legend, which celebrates it’s 80th birthday in September, became the main inspiration for Acid Jazz in the late 90s. His new album “Roy Ayers JID 002” on Jazz Is Dead with Adrian Younge and ex-ATCQ producer Ali Shaheed Muhammad continues his golden period of the Polydor years in the 70s seamlessly.
Text Harry Schmidt , Translation Sebastian Hinz
0z3a9927

Only few musicians have been sampled more often than Roy Ayers. A Tribe Called Quest (ATCQ), Dr. Dre, Eminem, Pharrell Williams, Naughty By Nature, Public Enemy, Nas, Mary J. Blige, Jungle Brothers, Pete Rock, Common, Erykah Badu, but also artists as diverse as Michael Jackson, Armand Van Helden, Mousse T., Masters At Work, The Prodigy, Jamiroquai, 4Hero, Linkwood, Kerrier District or Henrik Schwarz – and again and again Madlib – are just a few of the more well-known names, that have used the music of the vibraphonist, singer, songwriter and arranger. The web database Whosampled.com lists 708 songs and tracks with samples from Roy Ayers. Although unlike many other musicians Ayers is very benevolent to this practice (_»A lot of people sample my music, a lot of artists. And I’m very happy they sampled it because I feel good about it. I feel very good about it«, he said in an interview five years ago with the London based Bonafide Magazine), the undisclosed figure is likely to be considerable.

»Whatever you want to call the genre, that Ayers created with his music – space funk, mellow groove, jazz funk –, whether you wanna call him godfather or architect of neo-soul or acid jazz: He holds a unique position in the history of black music, which make him different to Lonnie Liston Smith, different to Isaac Hayes, different to Curtis Mayfield or any of the other soul jazz funk legends in the play«, says Peter Adarkwah when asked about his personal connection to the music of Roy Ayers. »He is also more accessible than Cal Tjader or Bobby Hutcherson, two other great vibe players, he is more sort of middle ground, maybe not Pop directly, but he has something like a universal appeal actually«, Adarkwah puts the specific qualities of Ayers in a nutshell. The British DJ and producer knows what he’s talking about: With his label Barely Breaking Even, BBE for short, founded in 1996 with Ben Jolly, Adarkwah played a strong role for the fact, that Roy Ayers experienced a renaissance at the turn of the millennium, since he was able to access unpublished material from the seventies. Releases such as »Virgin Ubiquity: Unreleased recordings 1976-1981« also caused a large number of remixes. Songs like »Running Away«, »We Live In Brooklyn, Baby«, »Searchin ‘«, »Red, Black & Green« or »Everybody Loves The Sunshine«, produced by Ayers in the 1970s, acted as blueprints for the then emerging nu jazz. Not least due to the massive airplay by the BBC radio DJ institution Gilles Peterson in his popular »Worldwide« program, Ayers was once again on everyone’s lips.


You can find the Vinyl Records by Roy Ayers in the Webshop of HHV Records


More than three decades in the music business were already behind him then. Born 1940 in Los Angeles and growing up in a music-loving household – his father played the trombone, his mother was a piano teacher -, Ayers began to play music in his younger days. At the tender age of five his parents took him to a concert by Lionel Hampton, who gave him a set of vibraphone mallets after the performance. That’s how it all started. Soon he found himself on stage with jazz greats like Teddy Edwards, in 1966 he joined flutist Herbie Mann and went to New York. At the beginning of the seventies he founded his band Ubiquity, the hard bop of his early days increasingly gave way to his interest in jazz funk and soul, and later also R&B. In 1973 he produced the much-noticed soundtrack for the blaxploitation film »Coffy« starring Pam Grier. Towards the end of the decade, he joined forces with the afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti and accompanied him on a tour of Nigeria; together they launched the label Uno Melodic Records.

Being the producer of »Come Into Knowledge«, the only album of the formation RAMP he founded in 1977 (an acronym for Roy Ayers Music Productions), he was responsible for a proto-disco milestone that is still popular today (and very sought after in it’s original edition) . It also includes a cover version of »Everybody Loves The Sunshine«, which Ayers recorded with Ubiquity in Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland studio a year earlier. »It was a beautiful, hot, sunny day and I just got this phrase in my head: ›Everybody loves the sunshine‹«, Ayers recalled in an interview with the British daily The Guardian three years ago about the production circumstances of his biggest hit: »I started singing: ›Feel what I feel, when I feel what I feel, what I’m feeling‹. Then I started thinking about summer imagery: ›Folks get down in the sunshine, folks get brown in the sunshine, just bees and things and flowers‹. It was so spontaneous, it felt wonderful.« A great moment of inspiration, that Ayers apparently fills with gratitude even decades later: »The song changed everything for me. It’s still the last song of my show. People always join in and it’s been sampled over 100 times, by everyone from Dr Dre to Pharrell Williams. It seems to capture every generation. Everybody loves the sunshine – except Dracula.«

However to rest on his laurels is far from the soul jazz legend, that celebrates his 80th birthday in September. To this day, Ayers has been on tour again and again, and he was last seen in Europe in 2019. Ayers continues to tour to this day and was last seen in Europe in 2019. After appearing on »Cherry Bomb« by Tyler, The Creator in 2015, the label Jazz Is Dead, which was recently launched by the American producer Adrian Younge, now not only publishes as the first catalog number the compilation »Adrian Younge & Ali Shaheed Muhammad: Jazz Is Dead« including a new song by Ayers, but with »Roy Ayers JID 002« – 17 years after Ayers’ last studio album »Mahogany Vibes« – a complete long player with eight new tracks, which sounds like a lost record from Ayers’ golden age in the Polydor years of the seventies pretty much. »His sound is very cosmic and melodic. His groove based fusion of jazz and soul is what really stimulates my creative mind, Younge enthuses about the collaboration: He plays with such emotion and conveys complicated messages very simply. His music is all about feeling, and it’s not always easy to get that across in music.« And Shaheed Muhammad, once producer and DJ at ATCQ, adds: »His songs are nomadic, sensuous, nonconformist, fluid and transcendent. His music defines the spirit of being soulful, funky and black. Not to be cliche but his art is truly the vibration of sound and soul becoming one. Or, to put it simply: Roy makes music that makes you feel good.«


You can find the Vinyl Records by Roy Ayers in the Webshop of HHV Records

Your Comment
Related Articles
Music Review | posted 18.08.2010
Sylvia Striplin
Give Me Your Love
A promising naked shoulder shows under the opulent white fur on the cover of »Give Me Your Love«.
Music Review | posted 12.12.2012
Newban
Newban & Newban 2
The re-release of these long-lost records by Newban proves how quality can brave the ­ravages of time.
Music Review | posted 13.07.2015
Bilal
In Another Life
Protest-music is an ambivalent thing. And yet, with »In Another Life«, Bilal has dedicated himself to this form of expression.
Music List | posted 05.04.2019
Record Store Day 2019
12 releases to look out for
We’ve searched through this year’s list of releases exclusively released for Record Store Day 2019 and put together a selection of twelve records that we’ve identified as possible highlights.
Music Review | posted 23.04.2011
Visioneers
Apache/Shaft in Africa
Marc Mac has blown the dust off two timeless classics and lets them shine in a funky B-Boy-manner just like in their old days.
Music Review | posted 17.02.2020
Sasaki Hideto & Sekine Toshiyuki Quartet +1
Stop Over
Released in 1976 in a small edition, the great »Stop Over« by Sasaki Hideto & Sekine Toshiyuki Quartet +1 now gets a second chance.
Music Interview | posted 19.08.2011
Electric Wire Hustle
That certain Vibe
Electric Wire Hustle is the latest export product from Wellington, New Zealand. The band found each other through their mutual love for Soul, Hip Hop and the Dilla beat production.
Music Column | posted 22.08.2018
Records Revisited
J Dilla – The Shining (2006)
»The Shining« was J Dilla’s first posthumous album. You get soul, you get funk, you get the tricky stuff, and you can also get this raw rap shit. You get the infinite forms of expression that J Dilla mastered. It’s a true classic.
Music Review | posted 14.03.2011
Charles Bradley & the Menahan Street Band
No Time For Dreaming
Charles Bradley is releasing his debut album at the age of 60.
Music Review | posted 06.07.2011
Miles Bonny
Lumberjack Soul
Instead of stooping to something ridiculous, Bonny freestyles effortlessly between everything that inspires him from Soul, Funk and Jazz.
Music Review | posted 15.07.2011
Booker T. Jones
The Road From Memphis
On his new album The Road From Memphis, Booker T Jones tells the story of his journey from his hometown, Memphis, all the way up to the Olympus of Soul.
Music Review | posted 28.10.2011
Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings
Soul Time!
Only a year after I Learned The Hard Way, the great Sharon Jones and her accompanying band The Dap-Kings are releasing another album.
Music Review | posted 22.11.2011
Mayer Hawthorne
How Do You Do?
The Blue Eyed soulman Mayer Hawthorne keeps dressing old Motown-sounds in a contemporary fashion.
Music Review | posted 09.03.2012
Lee Fields
Faithful Man
Lee Fields is the most famous non-famous in soul and funk. His new album will – once more – not bring him the attention he’d deserve though.
Music Review | posted 28.03.2012
Michael Kiwanuka
Home Again
A sound to drown in, a voice to lean on. The Briton’s debut fulfills all expectations above and beyond.
Music Review | posted 05.04.2012
Quantic & Alice Russell
Look Around The Corner
A musical visionary conducts a band that’s undeservedly underrated, carried by a voice from the present.
Music Review | posted 04.05.2012
Regional Garland
Mixed Sugar: The Complete Works 1970-1987
This collection offers symphonic Soul, Blaxploitation-Funk-instrumentals and tender ballads.
Music Review | posted 11.06.2012
Bobby Womack
Bravest Man In The Universe
After a hiatus of many years, Bobby Womack has re-entered the music business with a new album, on which his voice is as fascinating as ever.
Music Review | posted 12.11.2012
Lee McDonald
Sweet Magic
In every single syllable we hear the conviction of newly found love. And his vocal force can easily measure up to Lenny Williams.
Music Review | posted 14.03.2013
Ghetto Brothers
Power Fuerza
First and foremost, the Ghetto Brothers were a Puerto Rican gang in the New York of the 1970s. At some point, they reached for their instruments.
Music Portrait
Dark Entries
Between Disco, Goth and Porno Soundtracks
Since 2009, Josh Cheon has been running his label for underground music from the 1980s and those who want to be the next big underground hit. Next year he will have released over 300 records. We introduce you to the label from San Francisco.
Music Interview
Makaya McCraven
»I'm excavating sounds«
Makaya McCraven is one of the most leading jazz musicians of these days. Not only his hometown Chicago, but the whole world seems to be inspired by the free approach to the jazz heritage in his music. We had the chance for an interview.
Music List
Record Store Day 2020 – 3rd Drop
12 releases you should look out for
On October 24, 2020 the third of three Record Store Days will take place this year. More than 120 exclusive releases have been announced. We have picked out twelve records that we would like to recommend to you.
Music Essay
A Journey Into Turkish Music
Gastarbeiter*innen Musik
Simultaneously with the genesis of Anadolu Pop, a viral infrastructure is developing in West Germany. This »guest worker music« has always only touched the public consciousness. The economic exchange could have also been a cultural one.
Music Essay
A Journey Into Turkish Music
Anadolu Pop
Altın Gün, Derya Yıldırım & Grup Şimşek or Gaye Su Akyol: more and more bands are again referring to the sound of Anadolu Pop, which was formed in Turkey in the 1960s. But is it a revival? We clarify.
Music List
Record Store Day 2020 – 2nd Drop
Another 12 releases you should look out for
On September 26, 2020 the second of three Record Store Days this year will take place. More than 150 exclusive releases have been announced. We have picked out twelve vinyl records that we would like to recommend to you.
Music Portrait
Melody As Truth
On the threshold of sound and silence
With his label Melody As Truth, Jonny Nash moves between balearic and ambient. The journey leads from new age to a new art of world chamber music.
Music Interview
Kelly Lee Owens
»We store emotions in our body«
The Welsh musician released her second album »Inner Song« which wipes tears from cried-out eyes with one hand after the closing set while opening the window into everyday life with the other. A conversation with Owens about rave memories, trauma sessions and her challenge with Four Tet.
Music List
Harmonious Thelonious
10 All Time Favs
With »Plong« Stefan Schwander shakes the foundations of club music. His new solo album as Harmonious Thelonious lets everyday noises develop an eerie life of their own. He told us which 10 records have have shaped, improved and formed him.
Music List
Record Store Day 2020 – 1st Drop
12 vinyl records to look out for
On August 29, 2020 the first of three Record Store Days will take place this year. More than 350 exclusive releases have been announced for this event alone. We have picked out twelve records that we would like to recommend to you.
Music List
Jonathan Bree
10 All Time Favs
Jonathan Bree hides his face behind a latex mask. Well, right. But that’s not the most remarkable thing about the new zealander. Because he is first and foremost a first-rate songwriter. He told us which 10 records have shaped, improved and formed him.
Music Portrait
Light In The Attic
Everything Is Illuminated
For almost 20 years, the Seattle-based record label Light In The Attic has been shedding light on those releases that have been in the dark. The fact that they focused on vinyl right from the start, today the label is considered a pioneer.
Music List
Jay Glass Dubs
10 All Time Favs
»Soma« means »body« in Greek and that’s who the music of Jay Glass Dubs is aimed at. »Soma« is also the name of his new album. This was the chance to ask the Greek musician for 10 Vinyl records that formed him. He answers in, well, Greek.
Music Portrait
WeWantSounds
Contagious passion
WeWantSounds has been publishing music from the 1970s and 1980s since 2015. The name of the label is a catchphrase. When the Parisian two-man company selects the reissues, genre and country borders don‘t matter.
Music Essay
Baltic & Finnish Jazz
Removing Boundaries
While jazz from London to L.A. is evolving a fresh pop sensibility or even tries to update the fusion heritage, cool flavors between new blood and nostalgia are cultivated on the shores of the Baltic Sea. Here the genre is cosmopolitan as well and yet totally distinct.
Music Portrait
International Anthem
In search of the truth
For six years the label International Anthem from Chicago has been reliably delivering jazz with their own attitude and idea. Although the founders refuse to be ascribed almost any kind of attribution to a genre. For them, the most beautiful sound is just always: the truth.
Music Portrait
We Jazz
With emphasis on We
We Jazz, that stands for edgy, surprising jazz from the north. And also not. Since 2013 the festival has been held in Helsinki, since 2016 the label was founded. Matti Nives mainly publishes Finnish bands there. And acts as one of the most important networkers of the local scene.
Music Portrait
Roy Ayers
Warm vibrations with universal attraction
The American vibraphonist, singer, songwriter and arranger Roy Ayers is one of the most sampled contemporary musicians. With songs like »Everybody Loves The Sunshine«, the soul jazz legend, which celebrates it’s 80th birthday in September, became the main inspiration for Acid Jazz in the late 90s. His new album “Roy Ayers JID 002” on Jazz Is Dead with Adrian Younge and ex-ATCQ producer Ali Shaheed Muhammad continues his golden period of the Polydor years in the 70s seamlessly.
Music Interview
Gary Bartz
»We no longer see reality«
The Grammy-winning soprano saxophonist shared the stage with Miles Davis, Art Blakey and Max Roach. Now he has recorded an album with British outfit Maisha — and discovered something new.
Music Portrait
Dekmantel
Infinite Holidays
For the better part of a decade now, the Dekmantel imprint from Amsterdam is successfully squaring the circle as label, festival and promoter of several events: Connecting innovation and underground with a quality standard that is by now globally recognized without failing its aspirations. An end? Even in times of crisis far away.
Music List
Rafael Anton Irisarri
10 All Time Favs
Ambient? Maybe. But with splinters of metal, neo-classical and other stuff. Rafael Anton Irisarri paints overwhelming sound paintings with thick brushstrokes. For us the American composer has revealed his influences.
Music Portrait
Muriel Grossmann
Abstraction with a sea view
Saxophonist Muriel Grossmann reaches abstraction on the Balearic Islands, rides the waves with hard bop and even amazes billionaires with standards. Who is the secret pioneer of the spiritual revival?
Music Portrait
Roza Terenzi
Rave in a time capsule
Roza Terenzi turns past rave days upside down and brushes it with jungle breaks and techno cuts. On »Modern Bliss« she finally ends up in the future.
Music Portrait
Soviet Grail
Collective memory
Amid jazz experiments, electronic brutalism and psychedelic underground, Sergey Klimov digs for treasures for which musicians ended up in prison. With Soviet Grail, the Russian label boss traces the history of Soviet music.
Music List
ADULT.
10 All Time Favs
ADULT. have been making music for more than 20 years now. And they still don’t want simple attributions, sunlight, self-deception. Instead they wanted to call us records, which they shaped, improved, formed.
Music Interview
Quelle Chris
Accepting the chaos
He’s the most prolific oddball of the rap underground. And he’s on fire. With »Innocent Country 2« Quelle Chris follows up on his groundbreaking record »Guns« and a process where hopelessness is contradicted by accepting a surreal anxiety.
Music List
Peaking Lights
10 All Time Favs
In these days the new album «E S C A P E» of the Peaking Lights is released on Dekmantel. We had the opportunity to ask Aaron Coyes and Indra Dunis about 10 records that they have shaped, improved and formed.
Music Portrait
Patricia Kokett
Part of his own Movement
Patricia Kokett blends rave with mysticism, futuristic industrial with shamanistic noise, the spirit of Coil with imaginary records from Kompakt Records. The music of the Lithuanian producer Gediminas Jakubka, who turns into Patricia on stage, balances between borders. An attempt at orientation.
Music List
Jeff Parker
10 All Time Favs
The guitarist Jeff Parker is no newcomer to the music scene. And yet you get the feeling he’s just starting out. But he already wrote music history as part of Tortoise. Now his new album »Suite for Max Brown« has been released on International Anthem. For this occasion we have asked Jeff Parker to choose 10 records that have shaped, improved and formed him.
Music Portrait
Kalahari Oyster Cult
The best of all possible worlds
Diving for pearls in the mud, tracking down rave classics from the nineties and working with producers for whom it doesn’t matter if the record ends up in the Beatport charts: Colin Volvert’s label Kalahari Oyster Cult mixes up the underground with its DIY ethos.
Music List
Malcolm Catto of The Heliocentrics
10 All Time Favs
The Heliocentrics have just released »Infinity Of Now«. The album has the potential to inspire future musicians. Malcolm Catto, however, has first revealed to us the records that have shaped, improved and formed him.
Music Portrait
Mad About Records
Sinfully summery
With his label Mad About the Portuguese Joaquim Paulo takes care of the really hard to find records from Jazz to Bossa Nova. With success. We introduce you to the label in detail.
Music Portrait
Blackest Ever Black
Search for alienation
Among connoisseurs of fucked up, intoxicating sounds, the record label Blackest Ever Black was appreciated like no other. IAt the end of the year 2019 it was suddenly closed. We look back on a label that musically determined the 2010s like few others.
Music Comment
RSD Black Friday 2019
12 Vinyl records to look out for
We’ve browsed through this year’s list of exclusive Record Store Day Black Friday 2019 releases and put together a selection of twelve Vinyl records that we’ve identified as possible highlights.
Music List
Polish Jazz
An introduction in 10 vinyl records
The Polish jazz scene is considered one of the most important and creative in Europe. Today it oscillates between superficial conventions and hidden ruptures. A little search for clues.
Music Essay
Women Of Jazz
We Insist Female
Women in jazz are still not a matter of course. That has to change. For in the past, female musicians have had a decisive influence on jazz and the future is also in their hands.
Music Column
Records Revisited
Lootpack – Soundpieces: Da Antidote! (1999)
The breakthrough: »Soundpieces: Da Antidote« lifted the still young West Coast label Stones Throw from the circle of experts to the cult Olympus. Now the underground classic is 20 years old.
Music Essay
British Jazz
On The Hot Spot
Jazz in Great Britain is in the midst of a generational shift. New talents from Manchester to London are revising gridlocked listening habits and are testing the limits of the genre. But why now?
Music List
Record Store Day 2019
12 releases to look out for
We’ve searched through this year’s list of releases exclusively released for Record Store Day 2019 and put together a selection of twelve records that we’ve identified as possible highlights.
Music Column
Records Revisited
J Dilla – The Shining (2006)
»The Shining« was J Dilla’s first posthumous album. You get soul, you get funk, you get the tricky stuff, and you can also get this raw rap shit. You get the infinite forms of expression that J Dilla mastered. It’s a true classic.
Music Interview
Midori Takada
Deep inward scenerys
The exceptional percussionist Midori Takada gives us an insight into the recordings and circumstances of her masterpiece »Through The Looking Glass«, which is now re-released by WRWTFWW Records in cooperation with Palto Flats.