ROY AYERS UBIQUITY THROWS OUT A LIFELINEAGAIN JAZZ-FUNK CLASSIC TO BE REISSUED ON VINYL ON AUGUST 18 IN HONOR OF ALBUM’S 40TH ANNIVERSARY
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/UMe in honor of the album’s 40thanniversary. 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 Poetics magazine, “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.
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