Roy Ayers


Roy Ayers, born in Los Angeles in 1940, is one of the most important post-bop jazz players, as well as a pioneer in jazz-funk and acid jazz. Composer, vibraphonist, singer, and producer, he is addressed as “the Godfather of neo-soul”.

Ayers immediately showed a natural affinity for music, with the complicity of his parents Ruby Ayers, a piano teacher, and Roy Ayers Sr., a trombonist. At the age of five, he already played on the piano pieces of “boogie-woogie”. After experimenting with steel guitar, flute, trumpet, and drums, he devoted himself to the vibraphone. This choice was marked by the encounter with Lionel Hampton, the exceptional vibraphonist of the homonymous Lionel Hampton’s Big Band, who, given Ayers’ exuberance during a concert, decided to give him his sticks. The city of Los Angeles, where Roy Ayers grew up, was, at that time, the centre of Southern California Black Music, whose rhythms and sounds came from the many nightclubs and pubs, but also from the houses where the musicians lived.

After his collaboration with the jazz flutist Herbie Mann in 1966, Ayers founded his band, Roy Ayers Ubiquity, in the early Seventies. His production moved from jazz-funk to R&B, a transition that is shown in Mystic Voyage (1975) and Everybody Loves the Sunshine (1976), both produced by Polydor.

In 1979, Ayers placed in the top ten of Billboard’s Hot Disco/Dance Chart with the single “Don’t Stop the Feeling”, then included in the album No Stranger To Love (1980).

In 1988 he made a contribution in Whitney Huston’s song “Love Will Save The Day”, produced byJohn “Jellybean” Benitez, with a vibraphone solo. Between the Nineties and 2010, Roy Ayers has listed numerous and fundamental collaborations, like the one in the album Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool (1994), produced by Red Hot Organization in order to raise awareness and funds for the fight against AIDS inside the Afro-American community, that was also awarded as Album of the Year by The Time Magazine.

Ayers was also the founder of two record labels: Uno Melodic Records and Gold Mink Records. In 2004 he published his last two albums: Virgin Ubiquity: Unreleased recordings 1976-1981 e Mahogany Vibes.

His captivating sound, made of jazz sonorities mixed with funk, rock, soul and latin music, has charmed the Italian public, for which Ayers performed in December 2017 in three concerts, respectively in Rome (MONK Rome), Bologna (Bravo Coffee) and Milan (DUDE CLUB).




  • Share