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Roy Haynes: Fountain of Youth

Roy Haynes

Now that he is 78, it’s clear that Roy Haynes must have dove headlong into the Fountain of Youth (Dreyfus) somewhere along the way in his fabulous career, which spans 60 years and includes time spent working with all the greats, from Charlie Parker to Pat Metheny. Haynes’ rhythmic choices are so unorthodox yet so organic that they can scarcely be imitated, and he cuts up the beat in oh-so-many ways-all of them hip. I once asked Haynes about the secret to his signature snare-bass drum-hi-hat combinations and he replied, “Watch Sugar Ray Robinson-you dig?”

Perhaps the best example of his singular sensibility on Fountain of Youth can be heard on his highly personalized interpretations of Monk’s “Trinkle Tinkle” (erroneously titled “Twinkle Trinkle” here) and the traditional “Greensleeves” (done in a decidedly darker, reharmonized and ultimately more intriguing arrangement than Coltrane’s early ’60s rendition). Then there’s Haynes’ playing on “Summer Night,” which is a virtual clinic in the art of time displacement. Near the end of this brilliant showcase he lets loose with a dynamic solo that takes the proceedings up a notch further-a testament to his inexhaustible energy as well as his understanding of showmanship from behind the kit.

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