Roy Ayers

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About Roy Ayers

A godfather of jazz-funk, Roy Ayers (born in 1940) is one of the most sampled artists in rap music history. There’s an obvious reason for that: The L.A.-raised keyboardist and vibraphonist’s compositions are pillowy and spacious, heavy on grooves and melodies that unfurl from Ayers’ lush, thick voice. His biggest hit—1976’s brilliant “Everybody Loves the Sunshine,” by his group, Roy Ayers Ubiquity—pairs the loose feel of jazz with the precision of ‘70s funk, creating a brilliant intersection that takes elements of both but exists in its own world entirely; the song’s lilting drum groove and synthesizers would help pave the way for West Coast rap a few decades later. While Ayers was an early figure in the acid jazz and jazz-funk scenes of the ‘70s, he found a new audience in the 2000s when a younger generation of artists like Tyler, The Creator professed their love for Ayers’ warm meditations. Ayers even appeared on the rapper’s 2015 album, Cherry Bomb, confirming his status as a superstar in the 20th century and beyond.

Los Angeles, CA, United States
September 10, 1940
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