Is an American funk, soul, and jazz composer and vibraphone player (born September 10, 1940). Ayers began his career as a post-bop jazz artist, releasing several albums with Atlantic Records, before his tenure at Polydor Records beginning in the 1970s, during which he helped pioneer jazz-funk. He is a key figure in the acid jazz movement, which is a mixture of jazz into hip-hop and funk, and has been dubbed by many as “The Godfather of Neo Soul”. He is most well known for his signature compositions “Everybody Loves The Sunshine” and “Searchin”, and is also famous for having more sampled hits by rappers than any other artist.
Ayers started recording as a bebop sideman in 1962 and rose to prominence when he dropped out of City College and joined jazz flutist Herbie Mann in 1966.
In the early 70′s, Roy Ayers started his own band called Roy Ayers Ubiquity, a name he chose because ubiquity means a state of being everywhere at the same time.
Ayers was responsible for the highly regarded soundtrack to Jack Hill’s 1973 blaxploitation film Coffy, which starred Pam Grier. He later moved from a jazz-funk sound to R&B, as seen on Mystic Voyage, which featured the songs “Evolution” and the underground disco hit “Brother Green (The Disco King)”, as well as the title track from his 1976 album Everybody Loves the Sunshine.
In 1977, Ayers produced an album by the group RAMP, Come into Knowledge, commonly and mistakenly thought to stand for “Roy Ayers Music Project”. That fall, he had his biggest hit with “Running Away”.
In late 1979, Ayers scored his only top ten single on Billboard’s Hot Disco/Dance chart with “Don’t Stop The Feeling,” which was also the leadoff single from his 1980 album “No Stranger to Love”, whose title track was sampled in Jill Scott’s 2001 song “Watching Me” from her debut album Who Is Jill Scott?
In the late 70′s, Ayers toured in Nigeria for six weeks with Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti, one of the Africa’s most recognizable musicians. In 1980, Phonodisk released Music of Many Colors in Nigeria, featuring one side led by Ayers’ group and the other led by Africa ’70.
In 1981, Ayers produced an album with the singer Sylvia Striplin, Give Me Your Love (Uno Melodic Records, 1981). He has also worked in collaborations with soul songstress Erykah Badu.
Ayers performed a solo on John “Jellybean” Benitez’s production of Whitney Houston’s “Love Will Save The Day” from her second multi-platinum studio album Whitney. The single was released in July 1988 by Arista Records.
Ayers has played his live act for millions of people across the globe, including Japan, Australia, England and other parts of Europe.
Ayers is known for helping to popularize feel good music in the 70′s, stating that “I like that happy feeling all of the time, so that ingredient is still there. I try to generate that because it’s the natural way I am”. The types of music that he used to do this consisted of funk, salsa, jazz, rock, soul and rap.