When you are lucky enough to witness a 73 y.o. (really?) living legend enjoying playing live as if he were a child in a candy shop, you feel grateful and accomplished. The occasion for me to feel grateful was December 16, when I had the pleasure to enjoy Roy Ayers’ live show at the legendary Jazz Cafe in Camden, where he performed for three days in a row.
Backed up by keyboardist, backing singer, drummer and bass player, the ageless Ayers delivered a brilliant performance that took the public on wild ride of some of his classics. Forget the quiet atmosphere you might expect from a Jazz Cafe… with Roy Ayers the place turned into an explosion of rhythms and ancestral beats, as he proved once again his amazing ability to interact with the audience.
Whatever he does on stage he makes it look so easy and funny, while on the other hand you realise you are witnessing live some of the greatest musicians who ever walked on earth. Ayers always makes sure the musicians who play with him are world-class top level and able to guarantee renditions that flow as easy as water in the sea. An epic moment of the evening was when he changed the lyrics of “We Live in Brooklyn” to “we live in London, baby, we shop in Tesco, baby”, causing a stir of laughters and amusement in the mesmerised audience.
When the time arrived for other classics like “Everybody Loves the Sunshine” (which he originally recorded with the amazing Erykah Badu) and “Searchin'”, the atmosphere at the Jazz Cafe resembled the night of a Champions League final, as Ayers run the mallets on his legendary vibraphone to a hypnotised, crazed audience.
After over an hour of pure entertainment, Ayers saluted the public and stopped by to take photos with his fans and sign CDs and some limited edition vinyls of his latest work that were available to buy on that night at the venue.
It was “simply” a perfect show from the man who’s “always sampled, but never duplicated”. A must-see.