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As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Roy Ayers preview Sage 2 Thursday May 12.













(Review by Steve T)
Promised a short review of this but then realised Mr. Ayers and I go back; back almost to the beginning; that's my beginning, not his.
It was 1977 and my brother brought in a 7" single - Running Away. Is it disco? Soul? Funk? Apparently it's Jazz Funk, like Benson, Hubert Laws and Idris Muhammed which had been infiltrating the more forward thinking end of the Northern Soul scene - ie Blackpool Mecca - for a couple of years and would orchestrate a complete split from stompy old Wigan Casino the following year.
Roy Ayers consolidated his position on the newly liberated Jazz Funk scene with a couple more dancefloor hits: Get On Up, Get On Down and Can't You See Me? the latter providing the soundtrack for a certain Durham Restaurant owner, who had adopted the Roy Ayers look of the time - tan suit and Panama – and, along with a friend, stripped down to their umbrellas at the Coach and Eight in Durham, which is probably too much information for anyone who's figured out who he is.
When Jazz Funk imploded shortly after (some would say it never amounted to anything and for a long time I would have agreed) I moved on to bigger and better things but was reminded of Roy Ayers when visionary DJ Colin Curtis played his version of For Real on pirate radio at a Soul Weekender in Fleetwood in the late eighties, mixing - or perhaps I should say exploding - into the original by Flowers, a monster track on the rare soul scene, at the time fetching £100 for a poor 7" edit and I'm told you can now name your price.
Nowadays, promoters sometimes prime acts to play tracks they've sometimes forgotten so we may get For Real, but hopefully we won't get Poo Poo La La which is where he wants to kiss you baby.
I've just missed him loads of times, including when he played Hoochie Coochie last year, which clashed with Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham at the Sage, legendary but ultimately over-rated soul songwriters, but I plumped for Fun Lovin Criminals, probably a mistake but Durham Gala is just so much more convenient for me.
I've decided to see him this year because he's almost 75 and because I'm a huge admirer of local vibes monster Chris Jelly from King Bee, who rates Roy, as you can imagine and I know it's mutual. King Bee are in fact supporting Roy Ayers and Lonnie Liston Smith (due at Hoochie soon) in Kent later in the month.
When Chris played the Empty Shop in Durham with the Steve Glendenning Quartet we were all completely mesmerised; even Carlo who normally bobs in and out sat transfixed throughout. At the interval he did a repair job with plasters patching up his hands and must factor in that he will destroy his hands whenever he performs, requiring a period of healing, and presumably Roy has been through the same thing. They should be given the freedom of the city, every city, town, village and hamlet, alongside the Queen, the President, the Pope and the Few.
There's still a few tickets available for Thursday night and Roy Ayers deserves it. So if you like Jazz, Jazz Funk, Funk, Soul or (pre Bee Gees/ Donna Summer) disco you should give it a go.
Steve T.

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