10 Songs, 43 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Regardless of what kind of song he was playing, Roy Ayers was always seductive. While the jazz establishment initially derided his fusion of jazz, funk, and disco, Ayers’ innovations were ratified by hip-hop culture, which adopted him as a hero in the '90s. He was on a creative hot streak for almost 10 years, which makes a 10-track distillation of his work difficult. However, 20th Century Masters offers a concise summation of the man’s designs, which are as fun and entrancing now as when they were released. “Running Away” confirms Ayers’ disco genius; few songs in the genre are as multidimensional or as musical. “We Live in Brooklyn, Baby” is an elegant storm cloud of a song, the most influential of all Ayers’ ghetto messages. “Everybody Loves the Sunshine” is the other pinnacle, a gorgeous and hazy approximation of Los Angeles on the hottest day of the year. The rest of the songs show Ayers weaving smooth funk grooves; some are made for dancing and some for romancing, but all are enthralling. This set shows a master at the top of his game.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Regardless of what kind of song he was playing, Roy Ayers was always seductive. While the jazz establishment initially derided his fusion of jazz, funk, and disco, Ayers’ innovations were ratified by hip-hop culture, which adopted him as a hero in the '90s. He was on a creative hot streak for almost 10 years, which makes a 10-track distillation of his work difficult. However, 20th Century Masters offers a concise summation of the man’s designs, which are as fun and entrancing now as when they were released. “Running Away” confirms Ayers’ disco genius; few songs in the genre are as multidimensional or as musical. “We Live in Brooklyn, Baby” is an elegant storm cloud of a song, the most influential of all Ayers’ ghetto messages. “Everybody Loves the Sunshine” is the other pinnacle, a gorgeous and hazy approximation of Los Angeles on the hottest day of the year. The rest of the songs show Ayers weaving smooth funk grooves; some are made for dancing and some for romancing, but all are enthralling. This set shows a master at the top of his game.

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