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Saturday, September 25, 2010
Image by Professor Bop via FlickrThe Root Interview: Roy Haynes on the Fountain of Youth
The elder grandmaster of drums Roy Haynes talks with The Root about his upcoming season-opening concert for Jazz at Lincoln Center, his roll call of influences and why his style remains in the pocket.
Roy Haynes percolating on drums is like Ali dancing on the tips of his toes, jabbin', snapping heads back, which is why they call him "Snap Crackle," for the way Haynes pops the pulse, the groove. He doesn't just keep time rudimentally -- he plays with time, listens oh so closely to his younger band mates and responds with empathy. Whenever you see him, he's always clean, dressed to the nines; in fact, back in the 1960s he was one of Esquire magazine's best-dressed men. He has a taste for vintage cars, but it's his tasty drumming style that really sets him apart and through which he's made his mark.
In the first several decades of his career, Haynes on the regular played with the icons of jazz: Pops, Prez, Bird, Diz, Monk, Miles, Mary Lou, Getz, Coltrane, Billie, Sarah, Ella, to name a bunch. Nowadays, he's a great-grandfather whose aptly named Fountain of Youth Band travels the world summoning wonder. Very recently, Haynes made an impromptu appearance at Sonny Rollins' 80th-birthday concert and threw down the gauntlet of pleasure with Rollins, Christian McBride and free-jazz pioneer Ornette Coleman.