Rhyme Report

Published on July 18th, 2017 | by Dr. Jerry Doby


Vinyl Reissue: Jazz-Funk Classic ‘Lifeline, Roy Ayers Ubiquity’ August 18th


Arguably one of Roy Ayers‘ greatest projects and for collectors, one of the hardest to come by. That’s what happens when you make “forever music” nobody wants to turn it loose. Well, if your collection is missing this must have album from one of the most respected names in music history…your chance to redeem yourself is coming soon!

Here’s the official line on the reissue of one of Roy Ayers most celebrated works

Lifeline, Roy Ayers Ubiquity’s inimitable, influential 1977 fusion of jazz, pop, funk, and disco, will be reissued on vinyl on August 18 via Polydor/UMein honor of the album’s 40th anniversary. The LP, pressed on standard weight black vinyl, is available for pre-order now: https://UMe.lnk.to/Lifeline40

Originally released on Polydor, Lifeline was among the most popular of the prolific vibraphonist-keyboardist-composer-vocalist Ayers’ 20 albums for the label; the record is best known for containing one of the jazz-funk pioneer’s most popular tracks and biggest singles,“Running Away,” which peaked at No. 19 on the R&B chart and became a massive club hit with its irresistible disco-funk groove. Other compelling tracks on the set include the compulsively rhythmic “Cincinnati Growl,” the euphoric, horn-laded “Sanctified Feeling,”the lush ballad “Gotta Find a Lover,” and the jubilant acid jazz closer “Together.”

The LP found the well-travelled performer forging deeper into contemporary soul terrain; heavily influenced by the work of Marvin Gaye, he was abetted vocally by such gifted collaborators as label mate Edwin Birdsong (who co-produced the collection with Ayers and bassist William Allen) and Grammy-winning jazz singer Dee Dee Bridgewater.

After establishing himself as a full-time bandleader in 1971, Ayers fabricated upbeat dance grooves and silky balladry that became beloved by crate-digging DJs and had a pronounced impact on hip-hop and rap. As he noted accurately in a 2004 interview with Wax Poeticsmagazine, “Well, I have more sampled hits than anybody. I might not have more samples than James Brown, but I’ve had more sampled hits. Oh man, and there’s a few I don’t know about.”

The languid groove of Ayers’ 1976 track Everybody Loves the Sunshine has been sampled more than 100 times, by such R&B and rap heavies as Mary J. Blige, N.W.A., Dr. Dre, 2Pac, Mos Def, and Ice Cube. “Running Away” propelled A Tribe Called Quest’s 1989 opus “Description of a Fool.” Kendrick Lamar has name checked Ayers among his favorites. The vibist has collaborated in the studio with many rap notables, lending his distinctive talents to such albums as Guru’s Jazzmatazz Vol. 1 and Tyler, the Creator’s Cherry Bomb. Pharrell Williams cites Ayers as one of his musical heroes.

Ayers already had a decade of jazz experience behind him by the time he ascended to stardom in his own right. After debuting on record with hard bop tenor saxophonist Curtis Amy’s group in 1962, he settled in for a five-year run with jazz flutist Herbie Mann’s soulful band of the late ‘60s; he moved on to work with David “Fathead” Newman, the tenor mainstay of Ray Charles’ great ‘60s orchestra. His own work made him a ubiquitous presence in black music.

At the age of 76, Ayers remains a vital force in music and continues to tour widely; this past weekend he performed at Summerstage in New York’s Central Park alongside Fela Kuti’s son, Seun Kuti, and Egypt 80 as part of a tribute to Fela, one of his many collaborators. Ayers is now headed to Europe where he will bring his universal music to France, Croatia, U.K, Norway and Finland. A coveted act for festivals, he will perform at the Joy Of Jazz Festival in Johannesburg, South Africa in September. In June, he appeared alongside such acts as Tom Petty, the Shins, Alabama Shakes, Charles Bradley, and William Bell at the eclectic Arroyo Seco Festival in Los Angeles.

Definitely an essential album and I did my journalistic duty and got on the phone to request a review copy!!! ~ JD


Side 1

  1. This Side Of Sunshine
  2. Running Away
  3. Gotta Find A Lover
  4. I Still Love You
  5. Lifeline

Side 2

  1. Cincinnati Growl
  2. Fruit
  3. Sanctified Feeling
  4. Stranded In The Jungle
  5. Together




Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

About the Author

Editor-in-Chief of The Hype Magazine, Media and SEO Consultant, Journalist, Ph.D. and retired combat vet. 2023 recipient of The President's Lifetime Achievement Award. Partner at THM Media Group. Member of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture, the United States Press Agency and ForbesBLK.

Comments are closed.

Back to Top ↑