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Change Up the Groove

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Album Review

Its misleading title notwithstanding, Change Up the Groove does little to alter the inimitable jazz-funk aesthetic Roy Ayers perfected on earlier LPs like He's Coming and Virgo Red. The record simply offers more of a very, very good thing, as a result remaining somewhat overlooked in the vibraphonist's large catalog. What's impressive about Change Up the Groove is the seeming effortlessness of it all. Ayers' command of the almighty groove is absolute, and he divines the funk even in left-field material like the theme from the television hit M.A.S.H. More traditional fare like the scorching "Fikisha (To Help Someone to Arrive)," the measured "When Is Real, Real?," and a shimmering cover of Stevie Wonder's rapturous "Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing" proves no less impressive, and even if there's no obvious standout, Ayers makes no missteps, either — tremendous stuff from top to bottom.


Born: 10 September 1940 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Once one of the most visible and winning jazz vibraphonists of the 1960s, then an R&B bandleader in the 1970s and '80s, Roy Ayers' reputation s now that of one of the prophets of acid jazz, a man decades ahead of his time. A tune like 1972's "Move to Groove" by the Roy Ayers Ubiquity has a crackling backbeat that serves as the prototype for the shuffling hip-hop groove that became, shall we say, ubiquitous on acid jazz records; and his relaxed 1976 song "Everybody Loves the Sunshine" has been frequently...
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Change Up the Groove, Roy Ayers
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