This month’s ‘W.O. in London’ is something a little different to what we usually promote. Moving away from the dark spaces of house and techno comes jazz and soul legend Roy Ayers. For many DJs this man has been one of their idols or has at least influenced them in some way- his music being one of the most sampled ever. Blending his timeless rhythms with what has come to be known as acid jazz, this man is one of the living legends you must see.
Growing up in a musical family, Ayers has the unique talent of being able to bridge the gap between generations through his music. Early in his career Ayers learnt his trade as a talented vibraphonist under the tutelage of jazz legends Chico Hamilton, Teddy Edwards, Jack Wilson, Phineas Newborn and Gerald Wilson. This led him to leading his own string of successful R&B bands and touring globally. His legendary status has led to artists being inspired to either collaborate or sample much of his work- Mary J. Blige, Erykah Badu, Kanye West, A Tribe Called Quest, and Tupac to name a few.
Despite being aged 75, Ayers still regularly tours worldwide with his band. On this particular occasion Ayers will be performing at none other than Ronnie Scott’s for a weeks’ worth of performances. This historically rich venue has played host to world-renown musicians and is the London’s ‘Mecca’ for jazz enthuiasts. The place that saw Jimi Hendrix’s last public performance still keeps its charm with a formal setting of dining tables and seating. The atmosphere though classy, never feels pretentious – think ‘old skool’-smokey, 1960’s jazz club – without the smoke. For any music lover Ronnie Scotts itself is an experience.
The fact that tickets sold out within a week of going on sale illustrates how highly regarded Ayers is amongst real music lovers. Not to worry though, Ronnie Scott’s will be selling a very limited batch on the door on each evening. Far from your typical night out, it’s going to be very special indeed.
In the meantime set your ears to this dedication to Roy Ayers by Gilles Peterson for his 75th birthday: