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Roy Ayers (1940 - )

Related: American music - 1980s dance music - funk - soul music - Edwin Birdsong

Singles: Running Away (1977)

Whenever a jazz artist turns to rock, R&B or pop, jazz's hardcore purists are bound to cry "sellout." In the 1970s, a number of talented jazz improvisers increased their sales considerably by embracing R&B, including Roy Ayers. Those artists experienced scathing attacks by jazz critics when, in the mid-1970s, they moved to jazz-funk, which was basically soul, funk and disco with jazz overtones. 'Running Away', 'Sweet Tears' and 'Can't You See Me made him immensely popular on the UK jazz-dance scene [...]


Roy Ayers is a funk, soul and jazz vibraphone player. He was born on September 10th 1940 in Los Angeles. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Ayers [Feb 2005]


Doobie Doo Run Run Run Like Arthur Russell and Larry Levan, Roy Ayers is another of my cult heros. He threads the line between jazz, funk, disco, rare groove and house. 'Running Away' is one of those tracks that belong in ANY collection.

The Nineties

In the late nineties, Jazz-funk icon Roy Ayers lays down his funk spirit in the form of deep house records, for example : the recent release with Scott Grooves on which Lonnie Liston Smith's classic 'Expansions' is reconstructed, or his deep-house version of 'Sweet Tears' he made for Louie Vega. He can still be admired, worshiped or just plainly enjoyed at London's hottest jazz club Ronnie Scotts.

Fela Kuti

A highlight in the life of Roy Ayers occured when he toured Africa the tail end of 1979 alongside the late great Fela Anikulapo Kuti, which later spawned another sought after album "Africa - Center Of The World", plus a two track EP "Music Of Many Colors".

Roy Ayers recorded another album with Fela Kuti: the very accomplished early eighties, hard to find Uno Melodic release. - [...]

Running Away

"Then there was the release of "Lifeline" in 1977. Many DJs of the time picked up on one track whereby the label eventually made it into a single and which to this day is a penultimate jazz funk anthem on the dance floors, sampled by numerous house and garage producers, and was even used in early 2000 for Spike Lee's movie "Summer Of Sam"..... we are talking about "Running Away"."


  • http://www.suenomartino.net/roy.htm
  • http://www.bassics.de/ayers.html
  • http://www.ronniescotts.co.uk/ London club where Roy plays regularly
  • http://www.xyberweb.com/freestyle/roy.htm Roy Ayers biography by Outspan '99
  • http://www.royayers.com

    Nuyorican Soul

    1997 saw Roy working with string master Vince Montana Jr on the MAW's Nuyorican Soul project

    Todd Terry

  • 'Running Away' (1977, Polydor), "It's got one of those great choruses that always sticks in your mind and the bass is a good groove."
  • 'Everybody Loves The Sunshine' "It's a groovy type track. You can almost feel the high strings in it - It's a summer record."

    Trevor Nelson

  • Trevor Nelson , presenter of BBC Radio One's Rhythm Nation - and the Cooltempo label's A&R top cat:
    "This ['Running Away'] came out in 1977. It was a club record that got me into music when I was very very young. It's amazing, repetitive but effective. It's like a jazz funk disco record. Disco in '77 was tacky and nasty, a time when good music got lost, but he emerged as a leader. He's a cult legend. It's difficult to program, but I play it at special old skool evenings and it's still huge."


    1. Virgin Ubiquity: Unreleased Recordings 1976-1981 (2004) - Roy Ayers [Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
      1. Boogie Down 2. What’s The T 3. I Really Love You 4. Oh What A Lonely Feeling 5. Sugar 6. Mystery of Love 7. Green and Gold 8. Brand New Feeling 9. I Did It In Seattle 10. Mystic Voyage 11. I Just Wanna Give It Up 12. Together Forever 13. I Am Your Mind

      Master band leader, vibraphone virtuoso and second most sampled men in hip-hop…Just a fraction of the titles Roy Ayers has amassed in his near-mythical journey through the international Jazz, Funk, Soul, and Hip Hop worlds.

      As a result of legendary albums like Everybody Loves The Sunshine (1976) Stoned Soul Picnic (1968) and Mystic Voyage (1975), Roy Ayers has established himself as a living legend and an idol of jazz cats, crate diggers and true music lovers the world over. Having played with some of the finest musicians in the world, including Herbie Hancock, Guru, Fela Kuti, Mary J. Blige, Ron Carter, Erykah Badu, and The Roots, Roy Ayers has found acceptance from both the Jazz and Hip-Hop communities.

      In 2003, Ayers gave Rapster/BBE unprecedented access to hundreds of unreleased recordings. This resulting album is the 2nd in the Lost and Found series and what is likely to be a series of albums, giving life to what can only be termed "the holy grail" of any true music lover’s search. --amazon.com

    2. Destination Motherland (2003) - Roy Ayers [CD, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
      Track Listings 1. We Live In Brooklyn, Baby (Album Version) 2. Coffy Is The Color (Soundtrack Version) 3. Love From The Sun 4. Sweet Tears (Original version) 5. Red, Black & Green 6. Pretty Brown SkinThe Boogie Back 7. A Tear To A Smile 8. The Old One Two (Move To The Groove) 9. Life Is Just A Moment (Part 2) 10. Time And Space 11. The Black Five 12. Everybody Loves The Sunshine (Album Version) 13. The Memory 14. Hey Uh What You Say Come On 15. Running Away (12" Version) 16. Searching (Album Version) 17. Baby You Give Me A Feeling 18. Together 19. The Third Eye 20. Everytime I See You (Album Version) 21. Sweet Tears (Disco version) 22. Can't You See Me (Original 12" Mix) 23. No Deposit, No Return 24. Love Will Bring Us Back Together 25. Fever (12" Version) 26. What You Won't Do For Love 27. Thank You Thank You 28. Rock Your Roll 29. Motherland Intro 30. Destination Motherland 31. Land Of Fruit And Honey 32. Our Time Is Coming [...]

    3. Coffy [SOUNDTRACK] (1973) - Roy Ayers [1 CD, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
      1. Coffy Is the Color Listen Listen 2. Pricilla's Theme Listen Listen 3. King George Listen Listen 4. Aragon Listen Listen 5. Coffy Sauna Listen Listen 6. King's Last Ride 7. Coffy Baby 8. Brawling Broads 9. Escape 10. Shining Symbol 11. Exotic Dance 12. Making Love 13. Vittroni's Theme-King Is Dead 14. End of Sugarman
      The film that gave Pam Grier her first leading role and vaulted her to queen bee of the blaxploitation movement also inspired a soundtrack that is arguably Roy Ayers's most rewarding work. Grier plays a disgruntled nurse who goes "underground" to exact revenge on the pusher men who put the monkey on her junkie sister's back. Ayers matches her step for gun-totin' step with crisp, percolating drum lines; colorful ripples of electric piano; and his signature, lissome vibe work. Ayers' twin talents--the head-scratching virtuosity of his jazz runs and the ass-shaking grooves of his R&B rhythms--are in full flower on this recording. But Coffy is more than an acid-jazz archetype. The classically inspired solo harpsichord piece and the wack auxiliary percussion freak-out also included here hint at a deeper pool of inspiration that Ayers would rarely return to again. --Matt Hanks for amazon.com [...] [...]

    4. Roy Ayers - Lots of Love [Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
      1. Black Family 2. Fast Money 3. Lots Of Love 4. Everybody 5. D.C. City 6. Drive 7. And Then We Were One 8. Chicago
      Early eighties release on Uno Melodic, featuring Fela Kuti.

    5. Roy Ayers - Everybody Loves The Sunshine [Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
      1. Hey Uh-What You Say Come On 2. Golden Rod 3. Keep on Walking 4. You and Me My Love 5. Third Eye 6. It Ain't Your Sign It's Your Mind 7. People and the World 8. Everybody Loves the Sunshine 9. Tongue Power 10. Lonesome Cowboy
      [ Downtempo trip. "My Life, My Life ... in the Sunshine".]

    6. The Best of Roy Ayers - Love Fantasy [Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
      1. Love Will Bring Us Back Together 2. Running Away 3. Red, Black and Green 4. Mystic Voyage 5. What You Won't Do for Love 6. Don't Stop the Feeling 7. Coffy Is the Color 8. We Live in Brooklyn, Baby 9. Searchin' 10. Everybody Loves the Sunshine 11. Gotta Find a Lover 12. You Send Me 13. For Real 14. Destination Motherland 15. He's a Superstar

    7. Evolution: The Polydor Anthology - Roy Ayers [Amazon US]
      Disc: 1 1. Pretty Brown Sking 2. We Live in Brooklyn, Baby 3. He's a Superstar 4. Red, Black and Green 5. Coffy Is the Color 6. Shining Symbol 7. Des Nude Soul 8. Fikisha 9. Change up the Groove 10. 2000 Black 11. Tear to a Smile 12. Evolution 13. Spirit of Doo Do 14. Life Is Just a Moment, Pt. 1 15. Golden Rod 16. Third Eye 17. Everybody Loves the Sunshine Disc: 2 1. Searchin' 2. Vibrations 3. Running Away 4. Gotta Find a Lover 5. Freaky Deaky 6. Get on Up, Get on Down 7. Can't You See Me 8. You Send Me 9. Heat of the Beat 10. For Real 11. Love Will Bring Us Back Together 12. Turn Me Loose 13. Africa, Center of the World 14. Destination Motherland

    8. Mystic Voyage (1975) Roy Ayers [Amazon US]
      1. Brother Green (The Disco King) 2. Mystic Voyage 3. Wee Bit 4. Take All the Time You Need 5. Evolution 6. Life Is Just a Moment, Pt. 1 7. Life Is Just a Moment, Pt. 2 8. Funky Motion 9. Spirit of Doo Do 10. Black Five
      Now, who do you know that didn't have this in their private stash of LPs? They didn't mind other albums gettin' mishandled by clubhanded party guests and Malt-o-Meal eating babies, but this one was always in the "don't nobody but me touch it" file....and for good reason, too. Like me, them audiophiles couldn't live normal life if anything disrupted that funky groovin' and mellow vibin' Ayers and crew presented on this mystic thang. The newest Ayers I purchased was "Naste" a few years ago....it was, kool, but can you imagine hip-hop in your vibe? That, to say the least, wuddn't fer me. That's why I love this ol' skool Ayers. You can put it on and you feel that...Uhmmm-huuuh. -- ygsgs_in_the_quadrivium for amazon.com

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