Monday, November 07, 2005

roy ayers ubiquity

Ronnie Scott’s, London

I had heard the legendary stories of the ultra cool vibraphonist Roy Ayers for several years, but always missed his shows with much regret. So it was with much anticipation that three friends and I coolly sauntered into London’s most famous of jazz club’s. This was also my first time visiting the late Mr. Scott’s lounge, so this was making for an exciting cocktail of an evening.
Ubiquity comes from the Latin meaning the state or capacity of being, or seeming to be, everywhere at the same time. This describes the Roy Ayers sound exquisitely since he throws a plethora of sounds ranging from traditional jazz, blues, disco, latin, and even some rock and roll.
So after the Michael Deans Quintet warmed the ears of a packed house at Ronnie Scott’s, the band nonchalantly strolled out onto the stage all smiles and laughing among themselves. The fluidity of the band was something to be in awe of. The saxophonist who came to play here with Ayers many years ago, and never left, was mind blowing. He could hit any blue note on the spectrum. The guitarist, bassist, and keyboard players were all very accomplished in their respective areas of expertise. The drummer has an amazing future in front of him. He is probably in his mid twenties, but one of the best jazz drummers I have ever seen live. Then of course there is the man himself. He stands in front of his audience like a cross between a gospel preacher and circus ring leader and juggles his bright red drumsticks in front of you as he hypnotises you with his heady sounds.
They played several of their hits including “Lifeline”, “Get on up, Get on down”, “Don’t stop the feeling” and of course his most famous “Everybody loves the sunshine”. The adoring crowd bounced, swayed, and nodded as the pied piper of LA exuded such a carefree atmosphere. He constantly interacted with the crowd during this mesmerising and bewitching set. The first half finished around midnight and quite a lot of the audience left at this point, and in the second set when requests started coming in for “Everybody loves the sunshine” he gently reprimanded them for being late, before playing the song again. At the end of the gig the band all mingled with the crowd which added to the intimate feel you have at this venue. Seeing them was a long time coming, but well worth the wait. I look forward to their return, but feel as though they never leave this town.

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