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Stoned Soul Picnic

Roy Ayers

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iTunes Review

Stoned Soul Picnic functions as a survey of Roy Ayers’ tenure at Atlantic Records. Though the partnership lasted only two years—1967 to 1969—it launched Ayers’ career as a bandleader and produced three gorgeous albums: Virgo Vibes, Daddy Bug and Friends, and this effort. Rather than get caught between the pressure to become a serious jazz composer and his inner desire to make funk music, Ayers let himself do both simultaneously. “A Rose for Cindy” is at once tranquil and uneasy, while Ayers’ take on Jobim’s “Wave” is deliciously groovy. Likewise Laura Nyro’s “Stoned Soul Picnic”; Ayers often returned to Nyro’s songs, recognizing in her voice and writing a vulnerability that jibed with his approach to the vibraphone. “Lil’s Paradise” and “What the People Say” are lush and restless, but the most interesting track might be “For Once in My Life”: an unexpectedly brooding rendition of the song made famous by Stevie Wonder.

Biography

Born: September 10, 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...
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Stoned Soul Picnic, Roy Ayers
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