Vibraphonist Roy Ayers gives some of his classic songs a hip, contemporary spin on Mahogany Vibe (BBE/Rapster). The album features collaborations with a variety of vocalists, including singers Erykah Badu and Betty Wright. Ayers and Badu banter playfully at the open-ing of "Searching" and then get down to business, exchanging vocals with easy camaraderie. The two team again on an updated reading of the classic "Everybody Loves the Sunshine," and the album also includes a jazzy hip-hop version of the same song, this time featuring rapper MC Sakoni. Wright appears on two tracks, including a funky, retro take on "Pretty Brown Skin."
Mahogany Vibe also includes new tunes like the party-hearty title track and "Unity," an atmospheric yet percussive number with a socially conscious message. Ayers dispenses with the vocalists and lets his vibraphone sing on "Crystal Vibrations," a lengthy instrumental that spotlights his extraordinary technique and improvisational skill.