Published by THE METRO
It’s going to be difficult to compartmentalise a musician who is described as the ‘King of Neo-Soul’, the ‘Master of Funk’ and the ‘Godfather of Acid Jazz’. Any recording artist who merits titles of such grandeur clearly enjoys a powerful influence across a wide spectrum of sound. Yes, with almost 100 records to his name and a hefty stash of unreleased material to boot, the task of describing the music of Roy Ayers with concision or precision is a tricky one. It becomes nigh on impossible once you’ve got your introduction out of the way.
Indeed, anyone who reflects on Ayers’s vast and varied body of work will be aware that he is musical legend, yet one who refuses to lean embarrassingly on the past glories of nearly half a century on the jazz circuit. Just like all of the genre’s greats, Ayers remains as inventive as ever and, along with his celebrated vibraphone, he’ll be bringing old decibels with a new twist as part of an intriguing collaboration when he arrives in Glasgow on Saturday.
Ayers’s hits Everybody Loves The Sunshine, We Live In Brooklyn, as well as many other head-nodding, foot-tapping numbers drawn from his forays into R&B, funk and disco music, will be married live on the O2 ABC stage with the beats and rhymes of Bronx-born rapper, producer and DJ Pete Rock.
Rock was a pioneer in fusing the jazz and hip-hop genres, and went on to produce groundbreaking material by the likes of Run DMC, Public Enemy and The Notorious B.I.G., rising to prominence during the so-called ‘golden age of hip-hop’ in the early 1990s. His records have consistently won critical acclaim over the last two decades, during which time he has acquired a solid reputation in the industry among musical peers like Roy Ayers. Theirs is a union that will combine jazz, soul and funk with contemporary urban music in an ambitious meeting of minds that will already be whetting the appetites of music fans young and old.
At a festival in London’s Hyde Park a few years ago, a friend of mine happened to catch one of Ayers’s live performances. In his words, the ‘most beautiful girl I’d ever seen’ wandered over to him and attempted to start a conversation during the gig, but being so enchanted and mesmerised by Ayers’s music, he just wasn’t interested in such trivial pursuits. Now, either that story is a savage indictment on my friend, or Roy Ayers is simply that good to watch live.