TIR 83: Funk-Jazz Giant Roy Ayers Talks Lifetime of Sharing Good Vibes


Brought to you by FUNKNSTUFF.NET and hosted by Scott Goldfine — musicologist and author of “Everything Is on THE ONE: The First Guide of Funk” ― “TRUTH IN RHYTHM” is the interview show that gets DEEP into the pocket with contemporary music’s foremost masters of the groove.

Featured in TIR Episode 83: One of the true giants of jazz, funk and soul music — vibraphone master, keyboard player, singer, composer and producer — the incomparable Mr. Roy Ayers. Debuting with a straight-ahead jazz style in 1962, in the decades that followed he would go on to record more than 60 albums under his own name and that of his band Ubiquity that blended a multitude of genres and paired him with many of the 20th century’s most accomplished musicians. They included Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Herbie Mann, James Mtume, Stanley Clarke, Grover Washington Jr., Edwin Birdsong, Hubert Laws, Sonny Sharrock, Alphonse Mouzon, Billy Cobham, Wayne Henderson, Nate Phillips and so many more.

Some of his best known and exceptional tracks include “Running Away,” “Everybody Loves the Sunshine,” “Freaky Deaky,” “Get on Up, Get on Down,” “Spirit of Doo Do,” “Pretty Brown Skin,” “Change Up the Groove,” “The Fuzz,” “Red, Black & Green,” “Rhythms of Your Mind,” “The Boogie Is Back,” “Brother Green,” “Life Is Just a Moment,” “The Black Five,” “2000 Black,” “No Question,” “The Old One Two (Move to Groove),” Searching,” “Vibrations,” “Fruit,” “Love Will Bring Us Back Together,” “Don’t Stop the Feeling,” “Rock Your Roll,” “Baby Buba,” “Africa, Center of the World,” “Feeling Good,” “Turn Me Loose,” “Fast Money,” “Everybody,” “Goree Island” and “Blast the Box.” Ayers’ grooves are among the most sampled in hip-hop history and he has been credited with spearheading the acid jazz movement and been referred to as “The Godfather of Neo-Soul.”

TRUTH IN RHYTHM had been pursuing Ayers for well over a year to appear on the program, and ultimately he declined to participate in being videotaped. So the audio phone interview that follows has been set to assorted Ayers visuals. At age 78, his memory and speech are not as acute as they once were and he lacked the capacity for more than a half-hour interview. That meant focusing more on the big picture rather than being able to dissect specific albums and tracks.

A humble, gracious man whose life is all about the music, Ayers has spread good vibes for more than half a century.