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November 7, 2006

Superstars of Jazz Fusion Reunite

Written by
cindy mcleod

live jazz in Canada

The Original Superstars of Jazz Fusion in Toronto Nov 16

Spanning four decades of musical hits, the legendary artists who shaped jazz-fusion during the 1970s come together for a special reunion as The Original Superstars of Jazz Fusion.

Led by Roy Ayers, the Father of Acid Jazz, this vibe master, writer and producer championed a new sound in the early days that drew from jazz, R&B, Latin, funk and dance music. Ayers produced at that time what many regard as his finest work to date that include such hits as Everyone Loves the Sunshine, Lifeline, Vibrations, Running Away, You Send Me and Virgo Red which all continue to influence a new generation of artists. Today, Ayers is one of the most sampled artists in the music industry – A Tribe Called Quest, Mary J. Blige, Notorious BIG, Big Daddy Kane, Erykah Badu and Brand Nubian have all sampled from him.

With almost 40 years in the music business, Roy Ayers has continued to write, produce and be featured in collaborations with many major jazz artists, and is currently one of the most sampled artists in the music industry. He has released seven CDs under his own labels, Uno Melodic and AFI CD Records. His current album is entitled Mahogany Vibe and features Betty Wright and Erykah Badu, surely some his best work to date. This year’s recipient of C.O.R.E. (Congress of Racial Equality) Lifetime Achievement Award, Roy Ayers is and will remain a music icon and a cornerstone of popular worldwide culture.

After deciding to become the leader of his own band, Lonnie Liston Smith became one of the innovators of fusion jazz. Together, Lonnie Liston Smith and the Cosmic Echos released 18 albums, their 1975 album Expansions, reached number 2 on the Jazz Billboards. Jean Carne popped up several times during the early-to-mid-’70s, singing with Earth, Wind & Fire on two albums, recording several times with Norman Connors, and reaching the charts with her 1986 album Closer Than Close. Wayne Henderson teamed up with Wilton Felder’s to create the Jazz Crusaders. Together they created compilations for nearly 30 years, until they broke up. During the 90’s they joined together to go on a nostalgic reunion tour which was recorded on the Par record label. As a jazz flautist Bobbi Humphrey musical tastes leaned towards fusion and smooth jazz-pop. Her 1973 album, Black and Blue was a huge success and even reached #2 on the jazz album charts. Three years later, she earned the title best female instrumentalist by Billboard. Ronnie Laws has a nice soulful sound on tenor. Over the years, he has performed with artists such as Quincy Jones and Earth Wind and Fire. Ronnie Laws albums Flame and Every Generation both reached number one on the Jazz Charts. Jon Lucien became a prominent jazz-singer during the 70’s. He was widely known as a romantic song specialist. His 1991 album reached number one on the Top Contemporary Jazz Albums Billboard charts.

www.torontojazz.com

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