Ayers, Roy (E.)
- Mark Lomanno
(b Los Angeles, CA, Sept 10, 1940). American vibraphonist. He grew up in a musical family and learned other instruments before taking up vibraphone at the age of 17, despite being given a pair of vibraphone mallets by Lionel Hampton as a child. In the 1960s he worked mainly in Los Angeles and was hired as the music director of Herbie Mann’s group after performing with the flutist in 1966. He recorded several successful albums with Mann, including Memphis Underground (1968, Atl.). After moving to New York, Ayers founded the ensemble Ubiquity (1970), which featured a line-up of musicians—veterans as well as newcomers—that changed regularly and a repertoire that drew from jazz, soul, pop, blues, and funk. Ayers found success among popular and disco audiences, notably with “Everybody loves the sunshine” (1976). After touring Nigeria with Fela Kuti in 1979, he was inspired to address social issues, and such themes subsequently shaped his album ...