Roy Ayers

In the Dark

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Roy Ayers' first session for Columbia updates his signature funk-jazz sensibility for a new generation, and the results are mixed at best. Co-produced with Stanley Clarke, In the Dark embraces synthesizers, drum machines, and hip-hop beats, and while the results could have been far worse, Ayers sounds like a follower, not a leader. While the breakthrough success of Herbie Hancock's landmark "Rockit" proved the creative and commercial viability of rap-inspired electro-funk, Ayers' footing seems unsure. The risqué club hit "Poo Poo La La" mistakes irreverence for relevance, and even more inventive entries like the title track suffer under the weight of the dated, brittle production.

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