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Phil Haynes & Free Country

Phil Haynes & Free Country

Since arriving in New York from Oregon in 1983, drummer Phil Haynes established himself as a potent force on the downtown composer/improviser scene. Founder of the legendary Cornerstore Syndicate New Jazz Festival (a prototype for the Knitting Factory’s What Is Jazz? Festival), he has appeared on more than 30 albums in the company of such forward-thinking, fiercely uncompromising colleagues as Dave Douglas, Mark Feldman, Tim Berne, Herb Robertson, Paul Smoker, Gebhard Ullmann and Don Byron. So what’s a cat this hip doing with tunes like “Oh Susannah,” “She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain” and “Jeannie With the Light Brown Hair” on his latest recording, Phil Haynes & Free Country (Premonition)? Blame his family.

“This was music that I grew up with,” says Haynes. “Me and my parents and grandparents would sing these tunes around the campfire. So it’s got a really nostalgic, romantic feel for me.”

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