Roy Ayers – Silver Vibrations: An Illicit Grooves Review

Roy Ayers – Silver Vibrations

Re-Issued on BBE Music

Release date: 22nd March


A major reason why we include the Favourite Re-Issue category in The Return of the Illicit Groove Annual Poll and Awards is to support indie record labels such as BBE Music, AOTN, Outernational Sounds and others in releasing high quality re-issues which are affordable. Originally released in the Uk in 1983 Silver Vibrations now has a rarity value which is fetching ridiculously high prices on the 2nd hand collectors market.

Musically this album is definitely one to have in the collection. It shares several tracks with the US only 1983 release Lots of Love with an additional four tracks which are unique to Silver Vibrations.

Overall there are echoes of Stevie Wonder in this album, Chicago pays homage to a chord progression from Stevie’s Too High and there is vocal reminiscence of Stevie on Smiling With Our Eyes.

The extended version of Chicago brilliantly opens the album and reminds us of why Roy Ayers is such a seminal artist. As with the title track it is a real floor filler track, tailor made for dancing but also eminently listenable to as examples of how Ayers was able to cross Jazz, with Disco and Funk.

His vibe playing on Silver Vibrations and the instrumental Lots of Love is Roy at his best as a vibesman and, along with Keep On Moving shows great arrangements especially with strings. DC City is an unashamed message to the African American majority city of Washington DC and has a languid feel to it not unlike that of Everybody Loves The Sunshine. Indeed this album is something of a bridge as it links Roy’s classic late 70s work to the output to come in the 80s. This is no better illustrated than by the final track Good, Good Music. A track that combines jazz-funk slap bass with infectious percussion, call and response vocal interplay with a strong female backing and is just a track designed to link Jazz-Funk to the acid jazz and rare groove scenes.

Roy ayers cropped

As a DJ and radio broadcaster on The Illicit Grooves Radio Show I can say that all seven tracks on Silver Vibrations are destined for playlists whether on the radio or at gigs. But for me the stand-out track is Good, Good Music.

As the Summer festival season approaches Roy Ayers has already been announced as an act for events across Europe, I will be seeing him and I will be hoping to hear tracks from this album. If you find yourself at any event featuring an Illicit Grooves DJ set you definitely will hear music from this album.

Roy ayers and me 300dpi

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