Roy Ayers – King of Vibes/Godfather of Neo Soul at The Promontory in Chicago on Feb. 23 and 24 celebrating living Black Music History. Presented by The Promontory, RollingOut, Fusicology, Hot Ice LIVE and True Soul Entertainment
Back by popular demand, jazz funk legend Roy Ayers returns to Chicago for a celebration of Black History Month. Known as the “King of Jazz Funk Vibes” and the “Godfather of Neo Soul,” Ayers’ extensive discography has him ranked him among the most sampled African American artists admired by “new school” performers like Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Mary J. Blige, D’Angelo, Tribe Called Quest, Pete Rock/CL Smooth, and so many others.
“I believe it was Erykah Badu who first asked me, ‘Do you know that you are the Godfather of Neo Soul?’ I said what’s that? ‘She said it’s your vibe that got all of this music going.'”
The 75-year-old jazz master known for hits like “Everybody Loves the Sunshine,” “Searching,” and the dance classic “Running Away,” continues to tour the U.S. and globally recently returning from a brief stint in Europe. “It’s amazing how much they love my music over there. They treat it like it’s brand new.”
While many know about the performance side of Ayers, he has always been modest about his more activist side. Ayers — along with soul contemporaries Stevie Wonder and Gil Scott Heron — were among several artists who toured lobbying for the eventual national observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday signed by Ronald Reagan in 1983.
In the late ’70s, early ’80s, Ayers collaborated with Nigerian music maverick Fela Kuti producing “Music of Many Colors,” a conscious-infused extolling the origins of humanity and Black independence. Just a few years later, Ayers also collaborated with punk funk innovator Rick James whom he would record with periodically over the years.
In 2003, then-first lady Barbara Bush acknowledged his efforts during a Martin Luther King Jr. celebration in Landover, Maryland. “Roy Ayers has been a source of comfort and inspiration here in America as well. He travels across the country visiting school children and talking to them about the dangers of drugs. Mr. Ayers, your compassion is as legendary as your music. Thank you for devoting your life to making the world a better place,” she said.
Whether a fan of jazz, funk, soul, neo soul, dance or hip-hop, Roy Ayers delivers a live performance that bridges generations — an act reflected through not only his music, but also in his actions.
“Roy Ayers – King of Vibes / Godfather of Neo Soul” presented by The Promontory, rolling out, Fusicology, Hot Ice LIVE and True Soul Entertainment. For information and tickets, visit http://promontorychicago.com..