Born out of the revered LA concert series Jazz Is Dead – founded by multi-instrumentalist, producer and composer Adrian Younge and DJ, producer and A Tribe Called Quest member Ali Shaheed Muhammad – comes the duo’s brand new record label of the same name, which is set to release a string of new studio albums from a selection of iconic jazz, funk and soul acts.
Alongside upcoming releases from the likes of Marcos Valle, Azymuth, Brian Jackson and Gary Bartz, the label’s first full-length release, available from June 19 digitally, is a new studio album from non other than Roy Ayers.
In February 2018, Ayers performed four sold out shows in Los Angeles as part of the Jazz Is Dead Black History Month series. It wasn’t until 2020 that fans of Ayers discovered that in addition to those shows, the legendary vibraphone player had also recorded an entire album of material with Younge and Shaheed Muhammad. Its eight original compositions, written collaboratively by Younge, Shaheed Muhammad & Ayers, were recorded at Younge’s Linear Labs in Los Angeles. Joining Ayers, Younge & Shaheed Muhammad on the project are drummer Greg Paul, vocalists Loren Oden, Joy Gilliam, Saudia Yasmein, Elgin Clark & Anitra Castleberry, as well as Phil Ranelin & Wendell Harrison of the legendary spiritual jazz label, Tribe Records.
Says Ali Shaheed Muhammad:
“What is Jazz in 2020? I can answer that this way: jazz artists have not only been an inspiration that has shaped my development as a musician, but their music is deeply rooted into the foundation of the Hip-Hop culture. We have risen because their head nodding beats, lush chord progressions, soul ripping melodies and bellowing basslines have given us a musical back beat to poetically flow on until the break of dawn. To me, it’s all freedom music and Jazz Is Dead is motivating a movement.”
The Ayers album will also be released physically during July.