Roy Ayers is 77 years old and stutters when he talks. But not when he sings. And definitely not when he plays the vibraphone. And play he did last night in front of a packed house at The Promontory in Hyde Park.
Ayers mixed a few ballads with the jazz-funk that he helped define. Backed by a band consisting of bass, drums, keyboard, and another vocalist, Ayers played for about 90 minutes, drawing on his 99 albums with such songs as "Red, Black & Green", "Don't Stop the Feeling", and his interpretation of Sam Cooke's "You Send Me".
The keyboardist was the best of the bunch, coaxing a variety of sounds from his instrument during his many solos. I wondered why the stage setup hid so much of him from the audience's view.
And then there was Roy and his vibraphone. Ayers still sounds great when he does his thing with his vibes.
I bought a ticket at the door and had to stand in the back with some folks who decided it was ok to engage in loud conversation at the concert. But I had a chance to shake the hand of Mr. Ayers after the show and tell him how much I enjoyed his music.
And to wish him luck on his next 99 albums.