Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1099

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Roy Ayers: JID 002 (Jazz Is Dead)

Roy 1



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UK release date 19.06.2020

Roy Ayers has been a key figure in the history of jazz, funk and soul for decades and composing some undoubtedly brilliant cuts including the evergreen anthemic "Everybody Love The Sunshine". And it's why this much-loved artist still visits the UK for a plethora of sold-out shows each year.

Ayers is known as The Godfather of Neo-Soul and the vibraphone legend is back after 18-years with a new album unveiling a pleasingly fresh, modern approach to his classic 70’s style. Sexy female vocals, jazzy rhodes chords, haunting Moog and his ARP string synth bolstered by crisp drumming and ominous double bass are the order of the day as epitomised by the excellent "Synchronize Sensation", the moody "Hey Lover" and the supreme "Soulful And Unique".

It amply demonstrates what a fine team Ayers has surrounded himself with, as he reinvents himself under his new label, the provocatively entitled 'Jazz Is Dead". A new project founded by A Tribe Called Quest’s Ali Shaheed Muhammad and LA composer and producer Adrian Younge. Together they have brought out the best and avoided any 'Poo Poo La La' crowd-pleasers and to cut to the chase, have brought out the best in the man. The material is really strong and adventurist too. The psychedelic "Sunflowers" is a standout track, so too is the propulsive one chord brilliance of "Solace" with its winding sax and bleary trombone glued together with Ayers ringing vibes playing. The ensemble work is just scintillation - the groove is indeed on and I'm pleased to report this is a glorious return to form for Ayers. Welcome back, Roy!
Words Emrys Baird

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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