The next show will air on Sunday June 23, 2013 from 11 PM to 1 AM Eastern Standard Time on WBAI Radio, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.org. This installment of “Suga’ In My Bowl” will feature an exclusive interview with vibraphonist Roy Ayers. You can hear a short preview of the show below.
First known as one of the most visible and winning jazz vibraphonists of the 1960s, then an R&B bandleader in the 1970s and ’80s, Roy Ayers’ reputation is now that of one of the prophets of acid jazz, a man decades ahead of his time. A tune like 1972’s “Move to Groove” by the Roy Ayers Ubiquity has a crackling backbeat that serves as the prototype for the shuffling hip-hop groove that became, shall we say, ubiquitous on acid jazz records; and his relaxed 1976 song “Everybody Loves the Sunshine” has been frequently sampled. Yet Ayers’ own playing has always been rooted in hard bop: crisp, lyrical, rhythmically resilient. His own reaction to being canonized by the hip-hop crowd as the “Icon Man” is tempered with the detachment of a survivor in a rough business. “I’m having fun laughing with it,” he has said. “I don’t mind what they call me, that’s what people do in this industry.”
Roy Edward Ayers, Jr. was born in Los Angeles, CA on September, 10 1940. He comes by his affinity with music naturally, as his mother Ruby Ayers was a schoolteacher and local piano instructor and his father Roy Sr., a sometimes-parking attendant and trombonist. As often happens in a household filled with the love and the appreciation for music, Roy began to demonstrate his musical aptitude by the tender age of five, by which time he was playing boogie woogie tunes on the piano. He turned to the steel guitar by the age of nice, had stints during his teens playing flute, trumpet and drums before embracing the vibes as his instrument of choice.
Now in his fourth decade in the music business, Ayers, known as the Godfather of Neo-soul, continues to bridge the gap between generations of music lovers. In the 60’s he was an award-winning jazz vibraphonist, and transformed into a popular R&B band leader in the 70’s/80’s. Today, the dynamic music man is an iconic figure still in great demand whose work has been sampled by music industry heavyweights including Mary J. Blige, Erykah Badu, 50 Cent, A Tribe Called Quest, Tupac, and Ice Cube.
Produced by Joyce Jones and Hank Williams. Hosted and Engineered by Joyce Jones.
Web Extra: Watch Roy Ayers perform “Everybody Loves the Sunshine” live in a tribute to Miles Davis.
Watch The Roy Ayers Project: Upcoming documentary on Roy. Details at their website.