When you hear names like that you know he is defiantly worth checking out and he is lined up for City of Derry Jazz Festival this weekend...
With five decades in the music industry under his belt Ayers has seen it all, and is certainly unruffled by the hype about his work. And as he gets ready to fly in to Derry this week ahead of the City of Derry Jazz Festival he’s looking forward to converting a few younger music fans on his first trip to the city.
Ayers will be headlining the massive festival programme which will see over 300 performances take place over five days throughout the May Bank Holiday weekend. Asked what the locals will make of his music, the veteran performer is confident he can bring ‘the groove’ to Derry.
“The groove is there – and it’s really taken off in a lot of different places now. My music has been sampled by a lot of different people which is fantastic. I like the fact that young people are inspired by my work. It’s a wonderful gracious thing that they follow it. I think that young people do generally get my music.”
“I’m really good friends with Pharrell actually,” he reveals, “He named his son after me – Rocket Ayer Williams – which really is the ultimate honour,” he laughs. “I’m lucky to have worked with so many great artists and I like to think the music will continue to inspire people.
“Ultimately I would have loved to work with Jaki Bayard, he was one of my musical heroes. But it’s great to know younger artists are still interested in the music and enjoy working with me.”
As Derry gears up for the biggest weekend in the annual music calendar, kicking off tomorrow, it’s clear what the highlight will be – with Roy Ayers taking to the stage of the historic St Columb’s Hall on Sunday May 1. And he’s expecting big things from his audience.
“I’m really looking forward to coming to Derry. I hope people are ready to party and get down because it’s all going to be really heavy on the groove!”
You can buy tickets to see Roy Ayers in St Columb's Hall on Sunday May 1st by contacting the Millennium Forum Box Office on 028 71264455.
For a full Jazz Festival programme go to www.cityofderryjazzfestival.com