Roy Haynes

Aug, 31 - 2012

At this point in Roy Haynes’ illustrious career, it’s gotten a little boring to recite all the jazz legends with whom he has played drums, live and on record. The amazing list (deep breath) includes Louis Armstrong, Lester Young, Charlie Parker. Bud Powell, Lennie Tristano, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Sonny Rollins, Stan Getz, Chick Corea…well, you get the idea. The man is a walking repository of modern jazz history.

And then, there are all the younger stars who have had their work cut out trying to keep  up with Haynes as he has swung through his seventies and eighties. If you asked the members of his Fountain of  Youth Band  – saxophonist Jaleel Shaw, pianist Martin Bejerano and bassist David Wong – who’s being challenged by whom, their sheepish grins would tell you all you need to know. “It’s beginning to amaze me!” said Haynes, who at 87 defines words like indefatigable, indestructible and inspirational.

Haynes didn’t emerge as a leader until relatively late in his career. He was too busy, and perhaps too contented, accompanying artists like Sarah Vaughan in the ’50s and ’60s to make the move into the spotlight. But the Boston native has made up for lost time. No living drummer is more celebrated, or more praised. His ability to embellish and recast a tune on the run is undiminished. His witty ingenuity behind the traps, as a rhythm king and melody maker, is unequalled. He has fully earned the crown he’s wearing on his latest album, Roy-Alty.

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