...these unashamed party grooves will always get the dancers up on their feet and...
Greg Boraman 2003-05-27
Roy Ayers has been a figurehead to many musical camps over the years -as a straight ahead jazzing sideman to Herbie Mann in the 60s - through to being the much sampled supplier of hip hop breaks and hero to the Rare Groove generation. He has been in a position to maintain a contemporary profile and a busy gig schedule for decades; all this has been accomplished via the unlikely vehicle of the vibraphone!
This anthology contains 33 examples that demonstrate why Roy, now in his 60s, is still considered hip by audiences of all ages. The album kicks off with the atmospheric "We Live in Brooklyn Baby" - illustrating Ayers skill at mixing up the best bits of funk, soul, disco and jazz into a satisfying and groovesome whole.
It's not until you scan through the track listing of this compilation that it hits home how impressive a portfolio of club classics Roy has under his belt - "Everybody Loves The Sunshine", "Running Away", "Love Will Bring Us Back Together" and "Can't You See Me" have been emptying soul boys (and girls) wallets for decades.
Although the musical template displays a drift from the rawer jazz-funk of "Red, Black & Green", to the smoother disco-fied styling of "Sweet Tears", the basic Ayers fingerprint stays the same - a simple catchy, upbeat melody interspersed with jazz instrumental solos usually kicked off by Roy's sparkling vibes backed up by a thumping funk bass. Tasty.
It's these elements that have ensured that Ayer's fan base has never deserted him over the last 30 years. Either live or via a turntable, these unashamed party grooves will always get the dancers up on their feet and shouting for more.