In these days of paranoia and fear of mortality, let's infect your eyes and ears this Friday the XIIIth with the 95th birthday of, arguably, music's greatest living survivor.
That he's the only dude I've ever covered on here that is this old and still alive would be astounding enough.
That he's as ancient as he is and still playing regularly and anchoring bands from the back has me peeling the shards of my exploded mind off the walls.
He started in 1947 -- yes, that's Nineteen Forty Seven -- in President Lester Young's band. Then he was the drummer in another saxophone guy's band for four years... some guy named Charlie Parker.
I'm gonna cover Bird's 100th in August... except he's been dead longer than most people we know have been alive.
No such post mortems yet for this cat. He's probably playing somewhere tonight, right as I'm typing this.
How does someone drum into their Nineties? I'm 53 and an hour of it makes my ankles swell up to the size of sewer pipes.
He doesn't just hobble out with a walker and play brushwork either. This guy is pounding like he's 25, not 95.
I'm trying to think of another drummer that played this late into life at this sort of high level, and I'm coming up emptier than Trump's Coronavirus response.
He's played it all too. Was on the bandstand for the advent of bebop. Helped it transition into the Hard Bop era. Got next to Fusion in the 1970s. Still doing it all today.
Absolutely ass kicking. That's the words I'd use to describe Roy Haynes, born this day in 1925 (!!!!) and probably will still be celebrating birthdays after we've all wheezed our last.
I've been listening to this DVD audio I filched from this wild satellite broadcast video of him that was taped when he was a mere 80.
On it, he plays with the vigor of someone approaching 18, not 81.
Then his old pal Chick Corea comes for a visit. There's a sequence towards the end where the two of them create an improvisation that begins in Spontaneous Music Ensemble territory, stops by Jazz circa 1957, and then ends up in a Funk groove straight out of A Band of Gypsys at the Fillmore.
Then they conclude with a Monk tune, where Roy's pianist and Chick both play... at the same piano. Gosh, I love this tape. It only circulates as a video until now, but here! Get some.
Roy Haynes Quartet + Chick Corea
01 Like This
02 Question and Answer
03 Bud Powell
04 Summer Night
06 untitled Haynes/Corea improvisation
07 Straight, No Chaser
Total time: 1:14:18
Roy Haynes - drums
Marcus Strickland - saxophones
John Sullivan - bass
Martin Bejerano - piano (Tracks 01 & 02, 07)
Chick Corea - piano (Tracks 03-07)
256k/48kHz audio extracted from a DVD of a European satellite TV rebroadcast
tracked by EN, March 2020
479 MB FLAC here
479 MB FLAC here
But wait!!!! That's not all!!! A number of Roy's greatest works are still unreissued in the digital era.
Like his 1975 opus Togyu, for instance. I would never, ever place a pristine vinyl rip of that smokin' LP, nearly indistinguishable from a real reissue soundwise, into the cloud for those hearty punishment gluttons who've read my blathering squawk this far. Never never never, I say.
OK? I'll be back soon enough, but don't you dare miss out on Roy Haynes... who must have the formula for the fountain of youth serum to have presided, from his throne, over so much of the music of the last, oh, 75 years or so. Long may he ride. And snare, too.--J.