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Louis Hayes: The Real Thing

Among the major post-bop drummers, Hayes co-led a group with trumpeter Woody Shaw, who appears here with pianist Ronnie Matthews and bassist Stafford James. Rene McLean on soprano, alto, and tenor saxophones and trombonist Slide Hampton make guest appearances.

This is a hot session, with brisk to very fast tempos employed. Even on Hayes’ attractive ballad “Nisha” the tempo accelerates after the theme’s been stated. Shaw’s on fire. His style’s similar to Freddie Hubbard’s, but Woody has a lighter tone, is a bit more supple rhythmically and uses wide intervals more. Both liked to play a lot of notes and use the upper register a lot, as Shaw does here. Woody displays a pretty tone on “Nisha.” Matthews also improvises complex lines. His cooking solos exhibit the influence of Bud Powell and McCoy Tyner. Rene sounds like his father Jackie on alto, and his soprano playing has a Coltraneish quality. Hampton contributes some excellent efforts; even when he’s playing a bunch of notes each makes sense. James, who takes a nimble solo on “My Gift,” and the slashing Hayes make an excellent rhythm section.

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