Roy Haynes Roy-alty (Dreyfus Jazz)
Longevity is now merely a given in the brilliant career of Roy Haynes. The drummer’s professional path stretches from ’40s and ’50s work with Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Sarah Vaughan and Thelonious Monk to superb trio sessions with Danilo Pérez and John Patitucci in the late ’90s. He even scored a Grammy nomination for the 2006 album [i]Whereas[i], recorded when he was 80.
Haynes has blue-chip instincts and abilities. As a bandleader and instrumentalist, he has the personal resources to drive a group with authority in a manner that amplifies the creativity of any given project. Those qualities abound on Haynes’ latest album, [i]Roy-alty[i], which features his Fountain of Youth band and notable guests.
Trumpeter Roy Hargrove, part of Haynes’ group for the 2001 Charlie Parker-tribute album [i]Birds of a Feather[i], takes center stage on several of the disc’s most appealing tunes. Haynes’ laid-back percussive sizzle underscores Hargrove’s gorgeous long tones on a lovely “These Foolish Things,” among other tracks. Hargrove, muted, and alto saxophonist Jaleel Shaw offer a unison reading of the melody on Miles Davis’ “Milestones,” as well as dazzling solo turns. Haynes and bassist David Wong then trade creative ideas during an unaccompanied rhythm-section passage. Hargrove and Shaw also play key roles on McCoy Tyner’s bustling “Passion Dance” and on the Dizzy Gillespie favorite ”Tin Tin Deo.” On the latter, Haynes drives the sticky rumba rhythms — behind the band, then alone — and offers spoken-word remembrances of 1940s encounters with Gillespie and percussionist Chano Pozo, the tune’s co-writer.
Haynes has frequently crossed paths with Chick Corea since playing on the pianist’s 1968 landmark album [i]Now He Sings, Now He Sobs[i]. They join again here, displaying intuitive communication on a sprightly version of Monk’s “Off Minor,” which offers open space for Haynes, and “All the Bars are Open,” a meditative, free-spirited piece largely fueled by the drummer’s tumbling mallets playing on toms. The album’s title reveals all: Haynes remains a master of his art, even at this late date.
— Philip Booth