NPR Music's Tiny Desk Concerts series has had its fair share of illustrious guests, from the well-established to the relatively unknown. However, a recent edition of the beloved series was especially blessed when the desk was graced by none other than legendary musician Roy Ayers. The vibraphonist, whose work has transcended decades and genres and is perhaps one of the most sampled musicians in history, stopped by the NPR Music offices to give attendees a taste of his talent with three of his classic tracks, "Searching," "Black Family" and "Everybody Loves The Sunshine."
Starting off with "Searching," Roy and his three-man band took the audience on a musical trip with the song's mellow groove as he sang about questing for love, peace and understanding. He followed that up with "Black Family," a track of his from 1983 that he dedicated to "all my brothers and sisters our here in the world." Though it was dedicated to the entire diaspora, there was one person that Ayers shouted out by name throughout the song: Fela Kuti. Seeing as the two were collaborators and Kuti was a big influence on Ayers, it's not surprising that the Afrobeat pioneer was on his mind. He closed the set with perhaps his best-known song, "Everybody Loves The Sunshine." He stayed within the parameters of the song's original structure for the most part, though he did a few vibe solos and allowed keyboardist Mark Adams to punch in a few vocal samples to extend the groove for nearly eight minutes. If any of the Tiny Desk audience left this performance without feeling good vibes, then they just weren't listening to the icon doing his thing.
Catch some of Roy Ayer's vibes by checking out his Tiny Desk appearance below.