Featuring Danilo Perez and John Patitucci
Seeking to capitalize on the fact that, at age 75, drummer Roy Haynes is a walking repository of modern jazz history, this new concept album cleverly finds him revisiting his storied past. The six studio cuts and four live performances-recorded at Scullers in Cambridge, Mass., near the drummer's Boston birthplace-explore some of his most important and resonant associations, from Bud Powell's "Wail," which he cut with the pianist for Blue Note back in 1949, to Pat Metheny's "Question and Answer," from a 1989 album with the guitarist and bassist Dave Holland. Other tunes recall stints with John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Sarah Vaughan, Thelonious Monk and Chick Corea, but the most striking thing about this collection is how Haynes refuses to rest on his laurels or let any sense of nostalgia creep in.
Haynes' crisp, punchy, hard-swinging performances radiate with both authority and vitality, and joined by the sensational Panamanian pianist Danilo Perez and bassist John Patitucci, he makes music as invigorating and edgy as anything he's ever done. Some of the credit belongs to Perez, who's at his explosive, polyrhythmic best, gamely jousting the drummer with well-placed Afro-Latin accents. Whether slipping brief son montuno patterns into the turnaround on Corea's "Folk Song," or contributing his Latinized arrangement of Monk's "Bright Mississippi"-which he recorded on his superb Panamonk album-Perez helps the trio reinvent the material. For Haynes this album is less a recap than the latest chapter in a fascinating career.