I was trying to figure out all week how to approach this one, and thankfully the ultimate solution came through this morning as the sun rose... well, the sun was there but it was concealed behind a full overcast of smoke from the fires. But the sunrise was implied, anyway.
Today's big octogenarian Maestro is a tough one. Not too much circulates of him archivally, and what does wasn't ticking my inner ivories in a way befitting someone of this magnitude's 80th birthday.
Originally, I had extracted the audio from the HDTV rebroadcast of this (Christ it's funky) concert, which only had about an hour of the 2 1/2 hour marathon that was performed.
Then, in the early hours of today, I got a message that this impossibly rare document, which as it was happening was only ever broadcast (and only over the web) once, not only existed in a complete form, but that I could have a copy to get into the broader circulation such a barnbuning mushroom cloud of a concert deserves.
But back to the originator, who turns that big eight-oh today. It was extremely heartening to the power of daymaking the other night, to go on errands over here with my boyfriend's 17 year old friend and to discover that she not only knew who our birthday guy is, but is a huge fan of his music thanks to the influence of the grandparent by which she was raised.
Now who says wisdom requires age? You just need granny's record collection and the music of the one and only Roy Ayers -- the master vibesman and hitmaker born this very day in 1940 -- and you're Running Away with the whole game. So this post is dedicated to Niya, who knows Autotune didn't always exist.
But back to Roy: to have come out of the Jazz idiom just as Rock was ending any possibility of having commercial success, and to have responded by providing some of the most beloved (and sampled) songs in human history whilst still somehow remaining able to play your instrument at a galaxy class level and not lose the potency of improvisation and basic, extended Jazz essence as you race up the charts.... that requires wisdom.
And because everybody loves that sort of sunshine, that's why people paint street murals of your likeness.
Now about this show, celebrating its tenth anniversary tomorrow.... oh my dears. There's tribute concerts where the participants reverentially render note-perfect compositions to honor the intended, and of course we love and value those kind. Then there's homages that, by their very being, demonstrate implicitly the direct lineage and thread from the music of then to the music of now.
I think you'll agree that this one falls entirely into the latter category, such that categories are even required of sounds this inspiring and tremendous.
Robert Glasper Experiment & Friends
A Tribute to Roy Ayers
"Jazz à la Villette" Festival
01 A Tear to a Smile
02 Soul Brother #1/We Live In Brooklyn, Baby
03 bass solo/Third Eye
05 Red Black and Green
06 Pete Rock DJ interlude
07 stage banter
08 DC City
10 The Light
11 Lost Ones
12 Everybody Loves the Sunshine
13 Jam & band introductions
14 Stakes Is High
15 Fall In Love/Reminisce/Risin' to the Top/Weird Fishes
16 T.R.O.Y. outro
Total time: 2:32:02
disc break goes after Track 07
Robert Glasper - keyboards
Derrick Hodge - bass
Casey Benjamin - vocals, Vocoder and saxophones
Chris Dave - drums
Stefon Harris - vibraphone
Pete Rock - turntables and vocals
Bilal - vocals
audio captured from the one-time, live webcast of this complete event on Arte.tv in 2010
884 MB FLAC/September 2020 archive link
There isn't much more to say about it, other than it's full of covers that stand worthy of the spirit of their originals, and it's delivered by passionate players who comprehend in their DNA the granite-grade gravitas of the shoulders upon which they stand.
We wish Roy Ayers at least 80 more trips around the sun and thank him trillions for his service, providing the soundtrack to endlessly countless human lives, to this point. And we thank that Soulseek user for getting back to me and agreeing that this show is just too damn fantastic to keep to himself.
Speaking of thanking the stars, maybe once the smoke clears and that star gets back in the sky, perhaps we can all get back to loving the sunshine with everyone else. Keep those good vibes coming, folks!--J.