Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Roy Haynes - Forever Young and Always Hip

Six decades plus of music making has slowed down the ever youthful and hip Roy Haynes. This writer has the pleasure of seeing him with his Fountain of Youth Band recently at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC and he displayed vigor and enthusiasm that folks 60 years younger would have difficulty matching. It was a terrific evening of jazz by a true Jazz Master and is also evident on his latest Dreyfus Jazz release Roy-Alty, which includes several numbers they performed that night.

The core of this recording features Roy with the Fountain of Youth Band that includes Jaleel Shaw on alto saxophone, Martin Bejerano on piano and David Wong on bass. Roy Hargrove is added on on six of the ten selections while two selections are duets with Chick Corea. On Tin Tin Deo, Roberto Quintero is added on congas while on the last track, Passion Dance, pianist Robert Rodriguez replaces Bejerano while Craig Haynes is added on congas and Marcus Strickland on tenor saxophone.

From the opening moments of Sonny Rollins’ Grand Street, with a superbly constructed Hargrove solo followed by marvelous playing from Shaw to the rousing rendition of McCoy Tyner’s Passion Dance, Haynes drives the music, adding embellishments with his snap crackle cymbal work and snare rolls, all the while swinging. On this marvelous recording, a few tracks manage to stand out including Hargrove’s ballad playing on These Foolish Things, the sensation Corea-Haynes duet on Thelonious Monk’s Off Minor, the classic bop flavor of Miles Davis’ Milestones and the Latin jazz classic from Chano Pozo and Gil Fuller, Tin Tin Deo, which opens with Roy speaking the praises of the great percussionist.

The Fountain of Youth Band is strong throughout (I really enjoyed Shaw’s alto playing and subsequently downloaded his most recording on itunes after seeing him with Roy). With a nice mix of material, the recording showcases the continuing youthfulness, hipness and artistry of Roy Haynes.

I purchased this right before seeing Roy Haynes at the Kennedy Center

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