A Life in Time: The Roy Haynes Story
This is no mere boxed set. This is a history of modern jazz with a common thread: the great drummer Roy Haynes.
Aside from being a terrific omnibus of 60 years’ worth of jazz, it’s a showcase of Haynes’ versatility. There’s the bebop swing on Bud Powell’s “Bouncin’ With Bud,” the ethereal cymbal colorings on John Coltrane’s “After the Rain,” and the abstract counter-rhythms on Andrew Hill’s “Black Fire.”
The name of one of Haynes’ original pieces, “Snap Crackle,” tells all you need to know about his style. It’s the crisp sound from the snare and the sharp edge of the flat ride cymbal, resulting in a sound that’s both light and assertive. That snap and crackle comes through on the swing of Lester Young’s “Ding Dong” and the syncopated march cadence of Eric Dolphy’s “On Green Dolphin Street.” But it’s best exemplified on Chick Corea’s “Matrix” – Haynes’ approach to the entire kit is so articulate that he’s playing melody as much as he is rhythm.
The first two discs mostly feature Haynes’ work as a sideman. Disc Three is entirely given to a selection of his work as a leader of various groups between 1970 and 2006. The late-’70s funk-fusion pieces aren’t the best showcase for Haynes’ approach, but the later work – more rooted in tradition but hardly conservative – proves that he remains in top form. The fourth disc is a bonus DVD, including an interview with Haynes and pair of live performances.
So many of these songs are classics, and Haynes’ sound is one reason why. Along with great music, this disc imparts a valuable lesson to every listener: Pay attention to the drummer.
-John Frederick Moore