Roy Ayers | SFJAZZ

Roy Ayers

Considered the “Godfather of Neo Soul,” vibraphonist, composer and soul jazz luminary Roy Ayers makes his SFJAZZ debut, bringing the funky, feel-good sounds that have made him a musical icon and one of the most sampled artists in hip-hop. The Los Angeles native was born to a musical household, and set his sights on the vibraphone at the age of 5 after attending a Lionel Hampton performance. Following studies with jazz giant and neighbor Bobby Hutcherson, he paid his dues as a journeyman, releasing his debut West Coast Vibes in 1961 and touring as part of flutist Herbie Mann’s band. The 70s saw Ayers come into his own as a composer and bandleader, forming his wildly popular Ubiquity group that fully embraced the funk and dance rhythms that were, and remain, the lifeblood of urban pop music. The albums Ayers issued during the 70s, including He’s Coming, Red, Black & Green, Vibrations, Everybody Loves the Sunshine, and his landmark soundtrack to the 1973 Pam Grier blaxsploitation film Coffy, are classics of the genre and have made Ayers a celebrated, near mythic figure in contemporary R&B, hip-hop and soul music. He has most recently been working with a number of today’s major artists including Erykah Badu, Talib Kweli, and others. With a career spanning over four decades and over 50 albums, Ayers remains a vital force in modern music, bringing a joyous energy to every performance.

Artist Personnel

Roy Ayers vibraphone, vocals
Everette Freeman keyboards
Donald Nicks bass
Bernard Davis drums
John Pressley vocals

Artist Website

"Stevie Wonder, Whitney Houston, Herbie Hancock & Donald Byrd all agree Roy Ayers is King " — Village Voice
"Roy Ayers is the king of Neo-Soul music " — Erykah Badu