Roy Ayers to release first studio album in 18 years
15 June 2020
Born out of the revered LA concert series Jazz Is Dead – founded by multi-instrumentalist, producer and composer Adrian Younge and DJ, producer and A Tribe Called Quest member Ali Shaheed Muhammad - comes the duo’s brand new record label of the same name, which is set to release a string of new studio albums from a selection of iconic jazz, funk and soul acts.
Alongside upcoming releases from the likes of Marcos Valle, Azymuth, Brian Jackson and Gary Bartz comes the label’s hugely anticipated first full-length release which arrives this month in the form of a new studio album from the godfather of neo-soul Roy Ayers.
In February 2018, Ayers performed four sold out shows in Los Angeles as part of the Jazz Is Dead Black History Month series. It wasn’t until 2020 that fans of Ayers discovered that in addition to those shows, the legendary vibraphone player had also recorded an entire album of material with Younge and Shaheed Muhammad. Over the course of its eight original compositions, written collaboratively by Younge, Shaheed Muhammad & Ayers, and recorded at Younge’s Linear Labs in Los Angeles, the resulting album sounds both like an unearthed and unreleased album from Ayers’ classic period in the 1970s (which produced the oft-sampled “Red, Black & Green,” “We Live In Brooklyn, Baby,” “Everybody Loves The Sunshine,” and “Running Away), as well as something startling, new and unexpected.
Joining Ayers, Younge & Shaheed Muhammad on this musical journey are drummer Greg Paul, vocalists Loren Oden, Joy Gilliam, Saudia Yasmein, Elgin Clark & Anitra Castleberry, as well as Phil Ranelin & Wendell Harrison of the legendary spiritual jazz label Tribe Records.
Ali Shaheed Muhammad:
“What is Jazz in 2020? I can answer that this way: jazz artists have not only been an inspiration that has shaped my development as a musician, but their music is deeply rooted into the foundation of the Hip-Hop culture. We have risen because their head nodding beats, lush chord progressions, soul ripping melodies and bellowing basslines have given us a musical back beat to poetically flow on until the break of dawn. To me, it’s all freedom music and Jazz Is Dead is motivating a movement.”
The 8 tracks on this album testify to the love not only of a legendary musician’s legacy, but to the vitality & necessity of this music and these sounds in the present era, a thread that will likely run throughout all of the upcoming releases from Jazz Is Dead Records.
Roy Ayers JID 002 is released digitally on June 19th 2020 and physically at the end of July.