The jazz drummer extraordinaire, Roy Haynes, is the embodiment of such a living legend.
we hear the word "legend", most of us think of persons, events or
performances that have had impact over generations or centuries and yet
continue to command attention today. So the term "living legend"
might be considered an oxymoron, but it's not.
A living legend would be
the one who has excelled as a contemporary of persons who later became
legends. The jazz drummer extraordinaire, Roy Haynes, is the embodiment
of such a living legend.
Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and John
Coltrane are undisputed legends of Jazz music. Roy Haynes performed
alongside these icons during the peak of their respective careers. Mr.
Haynes brought his band, The Fountain of Youth, to the stage at Dizzy's,
on Friday night, September 7th.
Roy Haynes is not only the
greatest jazz drummer alive today he is also a compelling personality.
At 87 years young the man is tap dancing and doing splits. When he is
introduced, Mr. Haynes struts onto the bandstand dressed in the coolest
outfit while singing an acapella version of "You Gotta Know When To Hold
Em, Know When To Fold Em".
Roy Haynes is not about to fold em, and as
the name of his band suggests he seems to have the "Fountain of Youth".
The rest of his quartet are all young accomplished musicians; Jaleel
Shaw on alto/soprano sax, David Wong on bass and Martin Bejerano on
piano who all combine with Mr. Haynes to create musical magic. From the
opening number, the bluesy Ballard "Ask Me Now" to the rhythmic,
swinging "Summer Night', the master led his band with delicate brush
strokes and thundering crescendos.
There is something special about the drummer as band leader.
requires a certain synergy within the band and Haynes manages to
achieve this consistently. Saxist, Jaleel Shaw is pure musical pleasure
as he navigates harmonically from blues to bop to swing. Martin
Bejerano is an outstanding pianist. He must be, since he has been with
Haynes's band for more than a decade; his solos are all beautiful works
David Wong, the bassist gets into these awesome rhythmic
conversations with his drummer Haynes that leaves the audience literally
spellbound. There is no need to ask at anytime to "give the drummer
some", because Roy Haynes takes what he wants when he wants.
leads his band from behind that drum set just as easily as a maestro
standing in front of his orchestra. Whether it is the delicate strokes
of brushes on cymbals or the thunderous roar of sticks on bass drums,
the master drummer manages to keep the engine that is his band, fully
stoked throughout the entire performance.
So, please be aware
that when you attend a Roy Haynes concert it is more than just a
musical event; it is an experience. Mr. Haynes is "humbly" aware of his
legendary status. He is also aware that since he is very much alive and
kicking he is in fact that living legend that everyone keeps telling him