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Roy Ayers Ubiquity

Once one of the most visible and winning jazz vibraphonists of the 1960s, then an R&B bandleader in the 1970s and '80s, Roy Ayers' reputation s now that of one of the prophets of acid jazz, a man decades ahead of his time. A tune like 1972's "Move to Groove" by the Roy Ayers Ubiquity has a crackling backbeat that serves as the prototype for the shuffling hip-hop groove that became, shall we say, ubiquitous on acid jazz records; and his relaxed 1976 song "Everybody Loves the Sunshine" has been frequently sampled. Yet Ayers' own playing has always been rooted in hard bop: crisp, lyrical, rhythmically resilient. His own reaction to being canonized by the hip-hop crowd as the "Icon Man" is tempered with the detachment of a survivor in a rough business. "I'm having fun laughing with it," he has said. "I don't mind what they call me, that's what people do in this industry."

Growing up in a musical family -- his father played trombone, his mother taught him the piano -- the five-year-old Ayers was given a set of vibe mallets by Lionel Hampton, but didn't start on the instrument until he was 17. He got involved in the West Coast jazz scene in his early 20s, recording with Curtis Amy (1962), Jack Wilson (1963-1967), and the Gerald Wilson Orchestra (1965-1966); and playing with Teddy Edwards, Chico Hamilton, Hampton Hawes and Phineas Newborn. A session with Herbie Mann at the Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach led to a four-year gig with the versatile flutist (1966-1970), an experience that gave Ayers tremendous exposure and opened his ears to styles of music other than the bebop that he had grown up with.

After being featured prominently on Mann's hit Memphis Underground album and recording three solo albums for Atlantic under Mann's supervision, Ayers left the group in 1970 to form the Roy Ayers Ubiquity, which recorded several albums for Polydor and featured such players as Sonny Fortune, Billy Cobham, Omar Hakim, and Alphonse Mouzon. An R&B-jazz-rock band influenced by electric Miles Davis and the Herbie Hancock Sextet at first, the Ubiquity gradually shed its jazz component in favor of R&B/funk and disco. Though Ayers' pop records were commercially successful, with several charted singles on the R&B charts for Polydor and Columbia, they became increasingly, perhaps correspondingly, devoid of musical interest.

In the 1980s, besides leading his bands and recording, Ayers collaborated with Nigerian musician Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, formed Uno Melodic Records, and produced and/or co-wrote several recordings for various artists. As the merger of hip-hop and jazz took hold in the early '90s, Ayers made a guest appearance on Guru's seminal Jazzmatazz album in 1993 and played at New York clubs with Guru and Donald Byrd. Though most of his solo records had been out of print for years, Verve issued a two-CD anthology of his work with Ubiquity and the first U.S. release of a live gig at the 1972 Montreux Jazz Festival; the latter finds the group playing excellent straight-ahead jazz, as well as jazz-rock and R&B. ~ Richard S. Ginell, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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OMG!!!!!!!!! ! ! ! This is the jam!!!!!!!!! ! ! ! !
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Wish they bring the jazz station in Detroit back
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Roy ayers takes me back to the days n Philly, going down to the park n Germantown or hitting up the block parties. Life was rough, but it was a good rough. N made me a better person today.
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SUNSHINE a summertime anthem !!!
ALL PHILLY ALL DAY :) folks get brown, IN THE SUNSHINE :) X
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CLASSIC !!!!! Saturday evenings, Wrti, Fairmount Park, water ice, teenage angst :) & Roy Ayers getting it done
THIRD EYE, baby, baby, baby. It don't get no better !!!!!! X
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Roy is such an amazing musician!
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corneliusper r y 6 0
On top of his group
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crysanc
This song takes me back to '70's
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OG's take the wheel, our children need us we must save the world, the neXt generation. 14y 1m
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Great
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Another great cruisin' tune!
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Beautiful music
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Roy Ayers and James Brown are the Most Sampled Artist of All Time.
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Roy Ayers sound will always be timeless !!! Jedi & Sith will be groovin' to his classics !!!
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carolyn_moor e 9
SunShine is an old time favorite ... till this day, it's still fits the groove - Roy Ayers is still the man
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whoever posted RE: WJZZ..those were the days in Detroit!!! sorely missed....
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excellent! Great to hear again!
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k.wmz26
Luv& Respect
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where is you send me? what album is it on?
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Pure genius
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Richard King They Used To Played on Wjzz aLot
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Chilling at my grandma's house spinning this album oooo those were the days......
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takes me back to my old arny days
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Dope
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flea406
Very cool and smooth jazz. Love it.
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the memory keeps calling me back,to a love,that we once had...
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dyoung7895
Everybody love da sunshine
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Hey!!! I'm old school!! Been listenin' to Roy Ayers from the '70s!!
Can you dig it !!! Enjoy!!!!!!
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Roy Ayers Is Red Black And Green, If You Think About It You Know What I Mean.
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If I transcend and was ask the question how did I spend my life, I would say...I listen,love, enjoyed and been inspired by the music of Roy Ayers...
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robin.lattin
I love Roy-soundtra c k to my life...play africa is the center of the world by roy and fela!!!
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Roy embodies the beauty o fthe rhythm and soulfulness that comes from being in tune with the universe and our vibration specific to our spirit tribe. Love me some Roy Ayers,and yes I love the sunshine!!!
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I just turned 26 and I adore this man and his music!!! He's a pure musical genius and most definitely ahead of his time. Bless you Roy...
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drryl_brns
Watched Roy Ayers in concert from the stage. I got the chance to sit on stage not even 2 ft from him. It, he, is amazing up close. If you like Roy check out Jay Hogart. He's a professor a Weslyean University in Middletown, CT and a member of my church. I promise you'll love him.
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K'm looking for the song dominoes is that roy ayers or donald byrd???
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word
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I had the hardest time finding roy ayers. I tried looking up his name and some other songs and it wasn't working until I put in Red, Black and Green.
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OMG! I love Roy Ayers. A great jazz musician.

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