THE DOZENS: ROY HAYNES by Eric Novod

The century mark is a uniquely exciting time in the development of a major musical style. History is unearthed, compiled, written and rewritten by the day, and yet there are still a handful of musicians whose individual journeys span the majority of the entire recorded history of the music. Nowhere is this more clearly evidenced than in jazz, and perhaps no musician’s discography single-handedly reveals the scope of jazz history better than that of drummer Roy Haynes.



          Roy Haynes at Carnegie Hall (2007)

After all, Haynes is just one step removed from King Oliver himself, having performed with former Oliver band-member Luis Russell in 1945. From there, Haynes played with, well, nearly everyone else: Louis Armstrong, Lester Young, Billie Holiday, Bud Powell, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Sarah Vaughan, Ray Charles, Sonny Rollins, Thelonious Monk, Eric Dolphy, Andrew Hill, Roland Kirk, John Coltrane, Stan Getz, Gary Burton, Chick Corea, and Pat Metheny, to name a few.

But even more indispensable than the sheer magnitude of Haynes’s recorded output is the consistent invention and reinvention of his personal style, whether participating in seminal recordings of the swing, bop, hard-bop, post-bop, avant-garde or fusion eras. Whether in 1949, 1969 or 2009, Roy Haynes has managed to sound exactly like Roy Haynes – a testament to his formidable and uncompromising approach to his craft.

The following 12 tracks illustrate what has made Haynes’s specific style so coveted for so long: his largely instinctive rhythmic output that relies more on creative, intuitive melodic combinations than rudimental techniques; his choice of smaller, higher-pitched, snappier drums and a diverse selection of ride cymbals; his telepathic listening skills and lightning-fast reaction time on the bandstand; and his dozen or so licks that have deeply infiltrated the vocabulary of modern jazz drumming.

Roy Haynes didn’t receive the praise he deserved for the first few decades of his career. Luckily for jazz fans, the last few decades have turned into a giant, sustained celebration of his storied career. Jazz.com joins the fun in honor of his 84th birthday on March 13, 2009.


Lester Young: Blues 'n' Bells (Take 3)

Track

Blues 'n' Bells (Take 3)

Artist

Lester Young (tenor sax)

CD

The Complete Savoy Recordings (Savoy SJL 2202)

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Musicians:

Lester Young (tenor sax), Roy Haynes (drums),

Jesse Drakes (trumpet), Jerry Elliot (trombone), Junior Mance (piano), Leroy Jackson (bass)

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Composed by Lester Young

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Recorded: New York, June 28, 1949

Albumcoverlesteryoung-thecompletesavoyrecordings

Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

After beginning his New York professional career with a 2-year stint in Luis Russell's orchestra (1945-'46), Roy Haynes joined Lester Young in 1947. The next two years would serve as an ultimate education and period of stylistic transformation for the 24-year-old drummer. Early on, Haynes swung consistently, tastefully, and largely unobtrusively, as per Pres's request. As the run progressed, however, as this June '49 session reveals, many of Haynes's trademark bebop bombs and propulsive, offbeat rhythmic phrases had been developed and gently incorporated into the Lester Young group.

Note the comping fill Haynes plays behind Pres from 00:43-00:46. It begins as a common rhythmic phrase, but where one expects the run to end with a bass drum on the "and" of beat 4, instead continues to a barline-blurring additional bass drum on the "and" of beat 1 of the next measure. Also note the next fill between 00:48 and 00:50, where Roy plays a double-time fill that startlingly ends one full beat before the next section begins – responding to his previous fill but actually creating more tension in the process! These two connected musical moves exemplify the aforementioned offbeat rhythmic phrases that have come to define Haynes's comping style.

As to Pres himself, while sessions from this period yield uneven levels of improvisational sharpness, his lines here are thoughtful and inspired. Check out the second and third runs through the blues form (00:17-00:49) for a textbook example of logical, beautiful solo development.

Reviewer: Eric Novod


Bud Powell: Wail (Alternate Take)

Track

Wail (Alternate Take)

Artist

Bud Powell (piano)

CD

The Amazing Bud Powell, Volume One (Blue Note B2-81503)

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Musicians:

Bud Powell (piano), Fats Navarro (trumpet), Sonny Rollins (tenor sax), Tommy Potter (bass), Roy Haynes (drums).

Composed by Bud Powell

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Recorded: New York, August 8, 1949

Albumcoveramazingbudpowellvolume1

Rating: 98/100 (learn more)

Though he'd already garnered a solid swing-to-bop reputation during his stint with Lester Young, Roy Haynes's ensuing run with bebop pioneer Bud Powell largely defined his highly interactive, "snap-crackling" drumming style. Max Roach and Charlie Parker would soon both take notice and visit him during his '49 stay at the Orchid Room (with Powell and Sonny Stitt) to recruit him for the soon-open drum chair in Bird's group.

It's hard to beat the brilliant Rollins, Navarro and Powell solos from the classic master take of "Wail," but the alternate take reveals a classic Haynes performance. His startling ability to sense how a soloist will develop his statement is evident in all of the brief solos here – it's as if the drummer absorbs the player's first few lines and knows what's coming next. Also note how Haynes plays differently underneath each soloist. There is a lot going on in Rollins's statement, so Haynes pushes him along with an aggressive swing without breaking rhythm too often. For Navarro's more structured solo, Haynes predicts the trumpeter's lines and spaces, creating a dιjΰ vu feeling that he's somehow heard this solo before.

Finally, Haynes's creative drum break, located before the band plays the final head, is one of his most exciting. He begins with a brief motive, unpacks it in the next few measures, and then concludes with a terrific run of offbeat 16th notes that begins and ends a beat earlier than you'd expect, a common "keep-them-on-their-toes" move. It's a good thing this band was filled with only the finest players – otherwise the reentrance might have completely crashed and burned!

Reviewer: Eric Novod


Charlie Parker: I've Got You Under My Skin

Track

I've Got You Under My Skin

Artist

Charlie Parker (alto sax)

CD

Bird: The Complete Charlie Parker On Verve (Verve)

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Musicians:

Charlie Parker (alto sax), Walter Bishop (piano), Teddy Kotick (bass), Roy Haynes (drums).

Composed by Cole Porter

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Recorded: New York, March 31, 1954

Albumcoverbird-thecompletecharlieparkeronverve

Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

On April 4, 1952, an article appeared in Downbeat with the stark headline: "Granz Wouldn't Let Me Record With Parker, Says Roy Haynes." Looking back, there's no denying that during Roy's tenures with Lester Young (1947-'49) and Parker (1949-'53), producer Norman Granz typically chose Buddy Rich to record on his releases, even though Haynes was considered to be the "regular" drummer in both groups during the above-mentioned years. Thankfully, there are multiple alternatives to check out the interaction between Parker and Haynes, most notably on live recordings and this final Parker studio date.

This track begins with a rhythm-section vamp in which Haynes plays his classic hi-hat/snare-drum Latin groove recorded on hundreds of occasions (check out "Reflection" from his 1958 album We Three for the ultimate example). Upon Parker's entrance, Haynes delivers a classic performance of his trademark propulsive, polyrhythmic hi-hat, snare drum, and bass drum comping. As Bird begins improvising, Roy moves to the ride but plays less, allowing Parker to establish his solo within a deeper groove. After a few polyrhythmic runs throughout the melody's restatement, the track ends where it began, with the straight-eighths (but still swingin') Latin groove.

Reviewer: Eric Novod


Sarah Vaughan: Shulie-a-Bop

Track

Shulie-a-Bop

Artist

Sarah Vaughan (vocals)

CD

Swingin' Easy (Emarcy 314 514 072)

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Musicians:

Sarah Vaughan (vocals), Roy Haynes (drums),

John Malachi (piano), Joe Benjamin (bass)

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Composed by George Treadwell & Sarah Vaughan

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Recorded: New York, April 2, 1954

Albumcoversarahvaughan-swingineasy

Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

Few anticipated that Roy Haynes's next move, after extended runs with Lester Young and Charlie Parker, and club dates/sessions with Milt Jackson, Bud Powell, Kai Winding, and Miles Davis, would be entering into a 5+ year gig with vocalist Sarah Vaughan. But it was a career-defining and in many ways career-enhancing choice.

Haynes fondly recalls his years with Vaughan on both personal and musical levels. He traveled the world with Sarah, and in the process made more money than he ever had before. He would soon marry (in 1958) and begin to have children, and the financial security accorded him through his tenure with Vaughan solidified both his present and his future. It's also no secret that Mr. Haynes enjoys his clothes and his cars, and his inclusion on the "Forty Best Dressed Men in America" list in Esquire Magazine (1960) was due in part to his exposure on Vaughan's world tours.

For every mention of the practical/personal reasons for his choice to accept the Vaughan gig, Haynes has historically countered it with a comment regarding the unparalleled musicality of the group's vocal leader. "Shulie-A-Bop" is a charming, up-tempo swinger with which Vaughan introduced her band both in concert and, uniquely, on record. The now famous moment where Vaughan proclaims "Roy … Haynes" between two of the drummer's breaks is perhaps what's best remembered about this track, but everyone's performance is top-notch. Haynes's brush groove is deep, his comping ideas are playful, and Sarah Vaughan's aggressive scatting is an example of a tremendous instrumental solo.

Reviewer: Eric Novod


Nat Adderley: Blues for Bohemia

Track

Blues for Bohemia

Artist

Nat Adderley (cornet)

CD

Introducing Nat Adderley (Mercury/Wing MGW6000)

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Musicians:

Nat Adderley (cornet), Cannonball Adderley (alto sax), Horace Silver (piano), Paul Chambers (bass), Roy Haynes (drums).

Composed by Nat Adderley

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Recorded: New York, September 6, 1955

Albumcoverintroducingnatadderley

Rating: 92/100 (learn more)

Introducing Nat Adderley, though a worthy occurrence in its own right, accomplished more than what its title decreed. It marked the recorded debut of the partnership between the cornetist and his younger brother Cannonball, with performances that showcased their instrumental and compositional skills. The two recent arrivals were joined by the incomparable rhythm section of Horace Silver, Paul Chambers and Roy Haynes, and in combining these stunning elements, the Adderleys shot to the top of viable candidates to lead jazz into the post-Bird world.

It also doesn't hurt that this particular track has one of the finest Roy Haynes performances ever captured. Fresh off runs with Charlie Parker and between tours with Sarah Vaughan, Haynes was at the height of his creative powers. First note the broken, snare-drum triplet groove over the intro, which laid the foundation for drummers such as Tony Williams on his feature with Miles Davis, "Freedom Jazz Dance." Of special note is one of my all-time favorite Haynes breaks – a 2-measure run from 00:49-00:53 that has it all: compact storytelling; deep, intense swing (even during straight 16th notes); multiple shifts from whisper- soft ghost notes to snare drum blasts; and worlds of space between the notes – all in the span of four seconds!

Reviewer: Eric Novod


Thelonious Monk: Evidence

Track

Evidence

Artist

Thelonious Monk (piano)

CD

Thelonious In Action: Live at the Five Spot (Riverside 12-262)

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Musicians:

Thelonious Monk (piano), Johnny Griffin (tenor sax), Ahmed Abdul-Malik (bass), Roy Haynes (drums).

Composed by Thelonious Monk

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Recorded: live at the Five Spot, New York, August 7, 1958

Albumcovertheloniousmonk-theloniousinaction

Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

The topic of Thelonious Monk's drummers is intriguing. While many major players, from Kenny Clarke to Art Blakey to Max Roach to Philly Joe Jones shared the stage with Monk, it seems today that it's largely a collection of second-tiered masters, including Shadow Wilson, Ben Riley and Frankie Dunlop, that ultimately defined the Monk drum sound through their extended engagements with the pianist. While a shift from the movie stars to the character actors of the drumming world can often yield underwhelming results, Monk's brilliant musical legacy is anything but by-the-book, and it allowed some unsung heroes to rise to the occasion and contribute greatly to his music.

This would be a nice, neat little argument if Roy Haynes didn't spend a good portion of 1958 setting the bar for how to creatively enhance Monk's music without getting in the pianist's already rhythmic way. Looking back, it's interesting to think of Haynes, one of the original bebop masters who offered something a bit different from the outset, as the leader of the second wave of the more quirky, individualized post-bop drummers. (Billy Hart did once call Roy Haynes the "first avant-garde jazz musician" because of the way he altered rhythmic output.)

Situated in Monk's career between Wilson and Dunlop, Haynes's rhythmic ingenuity was a perfect foil for Monk's mood. Throughout "Evidence," Haynes finds all the right spots (and there are many of them) to fit his unforced, "blink-and-you'll-miss-'em" polyrhythms into Monk's spacious melodies. But it's his ability to openly engage in the pianist's dialogically improvised, unpredictable phrases that makes Haynes the high-water mark for Monk interaction. It's easy for a drummer to sound sloppy comping behind Monk, which is probably why so many of them maintained a steady swing groove with only minor, form-fitting interactions. Yet Haynes's lively choices consistently made perfect sense.

Reviewer: Eric Novod


Oliver Nelson: Yearnin'

Track

Yearnin'

Artist

Oliver Nelson (tenor sax)

CD

The Blues and the Abstract Truth (Impulse 154)

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Musicians:

Oliver Nelson (tenor sax), Freddie Hubbard (trumpet), Eric Dolphy (alto sax, flute), Bill Evans (piano), Paul Chambers (bass), Roy Haynes (drums),

George Barrow (baritone sax)

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Composed by Oliver Nelson

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Recorded: Englewood Cliffs, NJ, February 23, 1961

Albumcoverolivernelson-thebluesandtheabstracttruth

Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

The Blues and the Abstract Truth is a landmark for more reasons than one. It's a "supergroup" record that's the farthest thing from a blowing session – a testament to Oliver Nelson's masterful writing and arranging. Here he also keeps up with the Sunday-morning sounding Freddie Hubbard and a possessed Eric Dolphy improvisation – a testament to Nelson's masterful and under-recognized tenor playing. And the rhythm section of Bill Evans, Paul Chambers and Roy Haynes is a cross-section of classic beauty and innovation that is reunited here after their work with J.J. Johnson and Kai Winding one year prior – a testament to leader Nelson's masterful combo building.

While there's more explosive Haynes playing elsewhere on this disc ("Hoe Down" or "Cascades"), "Yearnin'" presents a satisfying, steady, bordering-on-straight swinging groove that's reminiscent of both his early swing-band days and his ability to lay down a spacious R&B groove with the best of them. Note how, usually ready to pounce on an improvisation as action-filled as Dolphy's is here, Haynes sacrifices quantity of notes for deepness of groove, and mostly stays out of Dolphy's way. After getting a bit more active for Hubbard's improvisation, Roy raises the groove stakes for a powerful yet laid-back shuffle over the final presentation of the melody. A restrained and refined performance from top to bottom.

Reviewer: Eric Novod


Roy Haynes: Snap Crackle

Track

Snap Crackle

Artist

Roy Haynes (drums)

CD

Out of the Afternoon (Impulse A(S)23)

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Musicians:

Roy Haynes (drums), Rahsaan Roland Kirk (tenor sax, manzello, stritch, nose flute), Tommy Flanagan (piano), Henry Grimes (bass).

Composed by Roy Haynes

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Recorded: New York, May 16, 1962

Albumcoverroyhaynes-outoftheafternoon

Rating: 92/100 (learn more)

In the late 1950s and '60s, Roy Haynes rededicated himself to the New York freelance scene. He took a walk on the wild side with such artists as Eric Dolphy, Jaki Byard, Steve Lacy, and Andrew Hill, performed straight-ahead dates with Phil Woods, Kenny Burrell, and Stan Getz, and accompanied singers Jackie Paris, Shirley Scott, and Ray Charles. So when it came time to assemble a group for his own date, Haynes cleverly combined the experimental-yet-grounded Rahsaan Roland Kirk and the classicism of pianist Tommy Flanagan, producing one of the more rewarding combinations of soloists in jazz.

This track features the hyper-energized, prodding-and-stabbing drumming on smaller, high-pitched drums that led Haynes to acquire the very nickname of "Snap Crackle." Kirk offers a nice down-&-dirty solo here, but the drum solo is the sure highlight. Note how Haynes begins with brief 16th-note calls and responses, followed by 6 or 7 measures of offbeat 8th-note melodic patterns. He then begins the same process over again, this time extending the 16th-note runs for 10 measures, and the subsequent offbeat 8th-note runs for 12 or so. This clever, large-scale plan of laying a thoughtful foundation for improvisation is the very essence of Haynes's sound.

Reviewer: Eric Novod


John Coltrane: Impressions

Track

Impressions

Artist

John Coltrane (tenor sax)

CD

My Favorite Things: Coltrane at Newport (Impulse 9076)

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Musicians:

John Coltrane (tenor sax), McCoy Tyner (piano), Jimmy Garrison (bass), Roy Haynes (drums).

Composed by John Coltrane

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Recorded: live at the Newport Jazz Festival, Rhode Island, July 7, 1963

Albumcovermyfavoritethings-coltraneatnewport

Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

Throughout the lifespan of Coltrane's Classic Quartet, Roy Haynes was the first-call sub whenever Elvin Jones was unavailable. Coltrane spoke highly of Haynes, saying that he enjoyed the contrast of Haynes's "spreading" versus Jones's "driving." The shining moment of Trane/Haynes interaction occurs about halfway through this 20+ minute track, when Tyner and Garrison lay out, leading to an intense, extended tenor/drums duet.

There are two noteworthy elements. Haynes's ferociously defined drumming is first and foremost a revelation that, come 1960, his "non-technical" style had reached such a high level that it had become nothing short of virtuosic and, in its own right, technical. Just as young drummers need to get through all of the standard rudiments in order to duplicate the playing of Max Roach, Haynes had introduced a whole other world of musical "licks" that can be practiced and studied in addition to the standard rudimental fare. Just about any Haynes lick one can imagine may be found inside this whirlwind performance, including the famed "did it 'n did it 'n did it 'n did it" rhythm – quick triplets in which the first two are played with either hand and the third with one of his feet. Just say the "did it 'n" phrase fast enough and you will hear it!

Second, listen to how playing with Haynes alters Coltrane's sound. He is bubblier and more rhythmically playful than usual, if a bit less gutturally powerful – yet this makes perfect sense, given the difference in drum styles. One can say that Haynes exposes some of Coltrane's bebop roots, which, considering Trane's experimental progression in the '60s, results in a passionate and historically striking performance.

Note: My reference above to "non-technical" is no knock on Haynes, who himself acknowledges that he initially didn't base his playing around the common drumming rudiments. It's the rawness and directness of his musical thought sans extended rudimental training that gives him an earthy musicality never before heard from a jazz drummer of his caliber.)

Reviewer: Eric Novod


Chick Corea: Windows

Track

Windows

Artist

Chick Corea (piano)

CD

Now He Sings, Now He Sobs (Blue Note 38265)

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Musicians:

Chick Corea (piano), Miroslav Vitous (bass), Roy Haynes (drums).

Composed by Chick Corea

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Recorded: New York, March 1968

Albumcoverccoreanowhesings

Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

Now He Sings, Now He Sobs is one of the most essential jazz drumming recordings of the modern era. It marked the beginning of the second half of Roy Haynes's career, and suggested that he would continue innovating well into the post-bop era, just as he had in the previous bebop and hard-bop eras. His playing from start to finish changed how drummers approached playing in a piano trio.

First is the drum sound. The addition of a flat ride cymbal as his primary rhythmic weapon was revelatory. His smaller, higher-pitched drums were balanced perfectly by the quiet, shimmering hum of a flat ride – creating acoustic contrasts rarely before heard from a jazz drum kit. Haynes has altered his drum setup since this '68 session, but his flat-ride cymbal sound, coupled with his cranked metal snare drum, and ringy bass drum and toms have come to define the sound of the second half of his career. They've also become common choices for many other drummers.

"Windows," a mellow track in 3/4 time, features Haynes's prolonged 4-over-3 polyrhythms throughout. When these measure-long polyrhythms are combined with his constant blurring of barlines, his playing creates an upsurge of forward momentum that's simply impossible to stop. Playing a waltz was of course nothing new by 1968, but these three masters invented a kind of new waltz style that blurs the lines of 3/4 with the rhythmic elasticity heard throughout this track.

Reviewer: Eric Novod


Roy Haynes: Satan's Mysterious Feeling

Track

Satan's Mysterious Feeling

Artist

Roy Haynes (drums)

CD

Equipoise (Mainstream MDCD0715)

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Musicians:

Roy Haynes (drums), Marvin Hannibal Peterson (trumpet), George Adams (flute, tenor sax),

Carl Schroeder (electric piano), Mervin Bronson or Teruo Nakamura (bass), Lawrence Killian, Erwood Johnson (percussion)

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Recorded: 1971

Albumcoverroyhaynes-equipoise

Rating: 85/100 (learn more)

After nearly 25 years of unrelenting playing and touring as a sideman to the stars, Roy Haynes changed course a bit come 1970, opting to run the first longstanding band of his career, The Hip Ensemble. It was an adventurous amalgamation of straight-ahead acoustic swing, avant-garde leaning improvisations, and intense, chugging funk. The group exposed the talents of tenor player George Adams, who would soon join forces with Charles Mingus, and trumpeter Marvin Hannibal Peterson, who would go on to play in Gil Evans's illustrious big band.

"Satan's Mysterious Feeling" is a fun, funky fusion track, complete with acoustic-horn front line, electric piano, and layers of percussion beneath Haynes's syncopated, 16th-note based groove. Haynes's choice to either leave space or add accents to the groove lends a funk/rock legitimacy to both the tune and the group, bringing to mind similarly conceived grooves by rock/fusion masters Tony Williams, Steve Gadd and Jack DeJohnette. With Haynes, Peterson, and Adams present, this track works as an honorable representative of 1970s funk/fusion, rather than the possible precursor to jam-band dullness it might otherwise have been.

Reviewer: Eric Novod


Roy Haynes: Sippin' at Bells

Track

Sippin' at Bells

Artist

Roy Haynes (drums)

CD

The Roy Haynes Trio featuring Danilo Perez and John Patitucci (Verve 543534)

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Musicians:

Roy Haynes (drums), Danilo Perez (piano), John Patitucci (bass).

Composed by Miles Davis

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Recorded: live at Scullers, Boston, MA, September 9-10, 1999

Albumcoverroyhaynestriofeaturingdaniloperezandjohnpatitucci

Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

This trio record, a half-studio, half-live date in which Roy Haynes dedicates each tune to one of his favorite past musical partners, began the self-revitalizing, career-reflecting period of Roy Haynes's career. Most importantly, it asserted that Haynes's drumming had not deteriorated with age. In fact, the electricity heard throughout the live half of this album reveals some of Haynes's finest playing ever – recorded while in his mid 70s! It therefore comes as no surprise that his longstanding current band, formed slightly after this '99 date, is called the Fountain of Youth. If anyone has discovered that mythical spring, Roy Haynes has.

Danilo Perez and John Patitucci, who have since gone on to form half of the Wayne Shorter quartet, connect skillfully throughout this disc, weaving in and out of brief, open solo segments, while always leaving enough space for Haynes's drumming to remain front and center. Their quick reaction time, combined with a willingness to playfully engage in Haynes's every leading stroke, leads to exhilarating rhythmic improvisation.

Of special note here are the extended fours between Patitucci and Haynes that begin directly after the statement of the Miles Davis melody. Check out the two Haynes breaks starting at 1:20 and 1:42, respectively. In the first, he plays his trademark groupings of threes, broken up between his hands and left foot. Nine measures into the 12-measure break, he begins his run of threes again – this time shifted a beat back in time – so the placement isn't where you expect it until he reestablishes the beat at the very end. The second break has it all: Latin-influenced rhythms, rapid-fire 16th notes, and four final measures where he flips his rhythm between the downbeats and upbeats – and then flips those rhythms between his hands and his feet!

Reviewer: Eric Novod


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