Roy Ayers

Roy Ayers (born Sept. 10, 1940) is an American vibraphonist, composer, and producer from Los Angeles.

Ayers was born on September 10, 1940, in Los Angeles to a trombonist father and pianist mother. The family lived in the musically thriving South Park area, where young Roy received his first pair of mallets at age five by vibraphonist Lionel Hampton.

As a teenager, Ayers played piano and steel guitar in The Latin Lyrics. After a brief time at City College, he began his career as a vibraphonist. His earliest credits on record are the 1962 Pacific Jazz releases Way Down and Tippin’ on Through by saxophonist Curtis Amy. Also that year, he played on the United Artists Jazz release Birdcall by post-bop saxist Vi Redd.

In 1963, Ayers played on the Contemporary Records title Leroy Walks Again by the Leroy Vinnegar Quintet and got featured status on the debut Atlantic release by pianist Jack Wilson.

Ayers’ debut album, West Coast Vibes, came out that year on United Artists. It features 10 cuts, including the Wilson-written “Out of Sight,” the Thelonious Monk composition “Well You Needn’t,” and the Ayers original “Ricardo’s Dilemma” (a waltz variant of “Take Five” by Dave Brubeck). He’s backed on this recording by Wilson (all tracks), Amy (four tracks), and two separate rhythm sections. The bassist on five tracks, a young Victor Gaskin, went on to play on more than 120 albums, including multiple releases by Cannonball Adderly, Les McCann, Hal Galper, Oliver Nelson, and John Mayall.


  • West Coast Vibes (1964)
  • Virgo Vibes (1967)
  • Stoned Soul Picnic (1968)
  • Daddy Bug (1969)
  • Ubiquity (1970)
  • He’s Coming (1972 • Roy Ayers Ubiquity)
  • Red, Black & Green (1973 • Roy Ayers Ubiquity)
  • Virgo Red (1973 • Roy Ayers Ubiquity)
  • Coffy (OST, 1973)
  • Change Up the Groove (1974 • Roy Ayers Ubiquity)
  • A Tear to a Smile (1975 • Roy Ayers Ubiquity)
  • Mystic Voyage (1975 • Roy Ayers Ubiquity)
  • All Blues (1976)
  • Comin’ Home Baby (1976 • Roy Ayers Quartet)
  • Everybody Loves the Sunshine (1976 • Roy Ayers Ubiquity)
  • Vibrations (1976 • Roy Ayers Ubiquity)
  • Lifeline (1977 • Roy Ayers Ubiquity)
  • Let’s Do It (1978)
  • Step In to Our Life (1978 • Roy Ayers & Wayne Henderson)
  • You Send Me (1978)
  • Fever (1979)
  • Love Fantasy (1980)
  • Music of Many Colors (1980 • Fela Anikulapo Kuti and Roy Ayers)
  • No Stranger to Love (1980)
  • Prime Time (1980 • Roy Ayers & Wayne Henderson)
  • Africa, Center of the World (1981)
  • Feeling Good (1982)
  • Drivin’ On Up (1983)
  • Lots of Love (1983)
  • Silver Vibrations (1983)
  • In the Dark (1984)
  • You Might be Surprised (1985)
  • I’m the One (For Your Love Tonight) (1987)
  • Drive (1989)
  • Wake Up (1989)


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