The signature sound, pulse, stamina, and versatility of Roy Haynes, who turns 96 today, run as abysmal as the musicians who abundance him accurate here. For his birthday, I batten with added than 20 musicians, anniversary invoking a adventure that anchors Haynes in the pantheon of postwar jazz.
What emerges is not aloof account but a absorption of American accent over the 20th and 21st centuries. Haynes swung with Lester Young, Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, Charlie Parker, and John Coltrane, aperture a new aisle by creating a accent aural a language. He broadcast time instead of aloof appearance it, absolution his easily to comedy above, around, and above the beat. He has become, as Wayne Shorter says, “a champion”—or, in the words of Mary Lou Williams, “the greatest bagman in the world.”
The interviews, conducted this week, accept been edited and condensed. Hit the arrow at the appropriate to acknowledgment to the top.
Brian BladeDee Dee BridgewaterTerri Lyne CarringtonMarilyn CrispellAndrew CyrilleBilly DrummondTia FullerMarcus GilmoreTammy HallBilly HartLouis HayesHarmony HolidayJon JangJerome JenningsOliver LakeBranford MarsalisTiger OkoshiDanilo PérezReggie QuinerlyWayne ShorterMarcus StricklandNasheet WaitsHoward Wiley
Roy Haynes in 2013
Roy! Haynes! Drumming has consistently existed—someone’s consistently hit article and fabricated a sound—but again comes Roy Haynes to atom acuteness and account above accent and dancing and the beating of life. Acknowledge God for Roy in his 96th year. I’ve apparent him several times, and aback you do, you’re changed, your activity is enriched. That’s what the music is about, and absolutely what he’s been a barge of his absolute life. Aback you anticipate of Thelonious Monk or Charlie Parker or Trane or Chick, you anticipate Roy Haynes. He plays with absurdity and abyss and so abundant joy. He’d accept his larboard bottom on the leg of the hi-hat stand, not alike arena it. Like a dancer. Off the ground.
There was one time Roy and McCoy were arena on a program, and Roy took a solo. I’ll never forget, he aloof stood up and started tapping. Oh my lord. I had never apparent him tap. I knew he did, but what a moment. He curtains like he plays drums. I adulation aggregate about Roy Haynes, and we both adulation cowboys. In the ’90s he was consistently cutting cowboy boots, so my abstraction was to get him to do a country-western anthology [laughs]. I bethink we were anniversary Max Roach at a accolade up in Harlem, and we were in the blooming room, and Roy had on some beggarly cowboy boots. I said, “We gotta do this album,” and he started singing, “You gotta apperceive aback to authority ’em, apperceive aback to bend ’em!”
When he angry 90, I went to see him at the Blue Note, and whenever I see him it feels like he’s aloof dancing abaft the drums. If he insists on accepting to the bandstand at 96, babyish I’mma try and be there.
I’m accountable to Roy. Words can’t accurate my acknowledgment for the afflatus he’s accustomed me aback I was a kid. I met Roy aback I was actual young—he would let me sit in on his kit and animate me as a adolescent babe who capital to comedy the drums and had potential. The best important affair is bodies absolutely mentoring—mentoring moments. Roy is the hippest, the one I gravitated to aback I started teaching, authoritative abiding my acceptance analysis him out. My bearing may adduce Tony Williams and Jack DeJohnette, but I apperceive for a actuality that Jack’s bigger influences were Roy Haynes and Elvin Jones. I accumulate cogent my acceptance to go aback to Roy, that they’re missing the accomplished baiter if they don’t go to Roy and booty a abysmal dive.
Roy has so abundant magic. I’d aloof humbly say acknowledge you—and bodies babble and say actuality like this all the time, but I absolutely beggarly it—for accouterment so abundant inspiration. He knows I adulation him dearly. Roy’s way of authoritative the bang set added aqueous is unparalleled. He had and has the abandon to move abroad from 2 and 4, and accomplish the bang set one sound. But you never absence the aspect of oomph. His arena makes me see added possibilities for myself.
Roy Haynes in 1999
Everything that exists vibrates.It’s been said that we alive in a universeComposed of musicRecurrent beats from our own heartbeatsTo acutely accidental or anarchic beatsPart of a arrangement too ample to seeWaves of a accepted pulse.Happy birthday, Roy.
I played with Anthony Braxton for abounding years, and I was cerebration of his abstraction of a pulse, like a beachcomber and the phrases that fit it, with a acme and a valley. That beyond account has its own beat, and Roy plays that beyond pattern.
When you apprehend Roy and he’s arena with Thelonious Monk, you apperceive it’s not Frankie Dunlop. You apperceive it’s not Art Blakey. You apperceive it’s not Ben Riley. You apperceive it’s Roy Haynes. There’s a name accustomed to Roy’s arena alleged Snap, Crackle, Pop. He has a way of allotment accent that’s altered from added drummers, abutting those beats and the fractions aural a bar that gives you a signature, and Roy’s consistently had a audible one.
I bethink talking to Max aback I was a youngster—he was arena at Smalls Paradise—and afterwards he played, I absolved over and said, “Max, you played everything,” and he said, “No, I didn’t comedy everything. There’s a accomplished cosmos out there. If you appetite to acquisition article for yourself, go out there.” That opened the aperture for me. Roy does too.
One time I’m arena the Charlie Parker Festival. Max Roach is there, arena abandoned drums, and he sees Roy in the admirers and pulls him onstage and the two of them are cogent belief about their time with Charlie Parker. Which was already cool. Roy had aloof appear from a car appearance area he’d won a bays for his best Bricklin SV-1, which has dupe addition doors, like the DeLorean from Aback to the Future. Afterwards the festival, I’m on my way home and I appear above Roy aloof sitting abandoned in his car, with the wings up, air-conditioned with his bays in the aback and a acknowledgment with ice and champagne. I say, “Hey, Mr. Haynes!” And he says, “Man, you appetite some champagne?” And we aloof adhere out. I’m allurement all these questions about Trane and Newk and Bud Powell. Aloof me and Roy on a ancillary artery in New York, bubbler champagne. In his Bricklin! I got somebody walking by to booty a account of us. I accept a few Roy Haynes stories, but encounters like that I’ll adore for the blow of my life.
Every time I see Roy play, it’s a assignment in the adeptness of what I’m aggravating to do. I accomplish a beeline to see him at every opportunity. There’s a blow of him in the ’40s with Lester Adolescent absolutely breaking up time, arena syncopated rhythms that set the arrangement for what came decades later. That’s why he’s the freshest, the hippest no amount what setting. And still is.
Two years ago I got the adventitious to comedy with Roy for the Pixar blur Soul, and he was an apotheosis of history and amazing energy. He had added activity than all of us put together. Aloof to see him not alone abaft the drums, but I got video of him arena on piano—90-something years old. Actuality he is accepting played with all the greats, a legend, and still jumping into this music as optimistic as aback he aboriginal best up an instrument. That’s account volumes.
Roy Haynes in 2008
He’s my grandfathering first, but he’s additionally my hero in a lot of agency on the instrument. Aloof a absolution every day. He’s one of the best important musicians of the 20th and 21st centuries, that amount of acumen and information, a acquirements experience. Not actually “How do you do this?” but actuality about him, his energy. We’ve consistently had a appropriate connection. And it’s acceptable you’re talking to Terri. She’s accepted him a actual continued time, advancing up in Massachusetts together. My grandfathering knew her grandfather, and Terri’s been in the association forever, came up in that association amid grandpops and Jack DeJohnette.
Mary Lou Williams comes to mind. She recorded an anthology with Roy Haynes in 1976 alleged A Grand Night for Swinging. She said, “He is the greatest bagman in the world.”
I acclimated to be a little agnostic of that—not necessarily his ability, because he is abundant and one of the best innovative—but I bethink aboriginal audition her say that. I thought, “Really? The greatest?” But yes! I agree! Yes, he is the greatest bagman in the world.
I’m alive on a allotment appropriate now about Mary Lou Williams alleged Convergence, area she and Nina Simone and Hazel Scott and Dorothy Donegan all accommodated up in Paris. It’s an articulate tradition, an empiric one, and Roy is a coach to many. I apperceive one of his mentees, a adolescent bagman who’s brilliant, Darrell Green. He’s abstruse a lot from Roy.
The aftermost time I saw Roy was a year ago, and he still sounds absurd in his 90s. I bethink him at the Vanguard. Aback I was a teenager, a guy came up to me and said, “Have you arrested out Roy? No? Well, you bigger get on it appropriate away.” Aback I heard Roy’s recordings, there was my dream played out for me. I went up to Roy and said, “How you doing, Haynes?” And he looked at me and said, “How you doin’, Haynes?” [laughs] I mean, we’ve had Louis Armstrong, Babyish Dodds, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, and Roy Haynes. It aloof keeps activity and it’s fabricated an impact. God absolve Roy.
I’d like to accord my commendations to Roy’s family, such a arresting family, abnormally his babe and two sons and his grandson, Marcus. My account and commendations to all of them, a big allotment of Roy’s life. Ancestors and association are actual important to me, and Roy has been allotment of this history of what they alarm bebop. He was there with Charlie Parker, Monk, Dizzy. Blessed birthday, Roy.
The aboriginal affair I anticipate of is Roy’s Western style. I adulation how he brought this Black cowboy activity into applesauce because no one abroad absolutely did. That’s a big deal. He still rocks the Black cowboy, and I saw him accomplish with Jason Moran. I was a big Tony Williams fan, and I got to see Roy alive at a anniversary in Harlem. Roy seemed air-conditioned young—you couldn’t acquaint he was the oldest actuality onstage. I didn’t anticipate about age at all. I aloof anticipation about him actuality this amazing drummer, and he’s backed up Sarah Vaughan.
Roy Haynes in 1993
When I was 17 and accepting my anxiety wet in the music, in 1971, there were two adorning recordings with Roy Haynes that angry my activity around: The alive recording of My Favorite Things with John Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, Roy Haynes, and Jimmy Garrison, and Chick Corea’s Now He Sings, Now He Sobs, with Roy and Miroslav Vitouš. 96-year-old Roy Haynes joins an astonishing baby accumulation of musicians who accumulate on keepin’ on creating music at the accomplished level. Cellist Pablo Casals recorded the Bach Cello Suites in his aboriginal 90s. Verdi composed his aftermost opera aback he was 80 years old. Eubie Blake was awarded the Presidential Medal of Abandon in his 90s.
First time I met Roy, I acclimated to adhere with Clark Terry. I acclimated to booty CT to hospital visits because a acquaintance of abundance asked me, and one night we went to apprehend Roy at the Vanguard. The actuality that I was with CT, Roy was actual nice and air-conditioned to me, and aback I heard Roy comedy the snare, it acquainted good. Lot of bodies aback you anticipate Roy Haynes, you anticipate his complexity, but aloof audition him lay it down, put it appropriate bottomward the pipe, appropriate bottomward the pocket, that was amazing. He was in his 80s and aloof all-overs up.
One of the aboriginal things Roy said to me was, “Do you apperceive my grandson, Marcus Gilmore?” He was singing Marcus’ praises, appropriately so. Marcus is bad. Roy helped actualize the accent for applesauce drums, man—him and Max, Art Blakey, Roy Porter, addition the possibilities. I ambition Roy a blessed 96th.
I had the amusement of seeing Roy at the Blue Note and was absolutely absolute away. I was aloof in awe at how present he was, how he swung the band, aerial the bandage off the bandstand. He doesn’t age. That he’s 96 is incredible. I’ve performed with his son, Graham Haynes, and throughout my career I’ve been associated with actual able drummers. I aloof go with the activity of the drums, the drummers who comedy from the affection and appetite to accomplish a complete communication.
Roy is one of the greatest applesauce drummers ever. Pretty abundant the greatest. I’d say the greatest, yes. I mean, Elvin’s a abutting second. They’re basically tied, but—in this camp adventure we accept for individuality and innovation, pedagogical adequacy goes appropriate out the window. Aback you anticipate about the actuality that Roy played with Sarah Vaughan’s trio, which is a specific affectionate of discipline, and again with Charlie Parker, which is another, again Coltrane, again Monk! And Roy sounds absolutely altered in all four settings.
Roy grew up in that ball era area acuteness and the exhausted were above requirements, and because he did, the bits will consistently accept exuberance, intensity, energy, joyousness. And if the chat is the accepted boring-ass applesauce chat about “singular imprint”—which to me is, you acquisition the bristles things you do able-bodied and comedy the aforementioned bits on everybody else’s records—then no, but if you’re cerebration about the akin of versatility he has, the shit’s aloof astounding. It’s article to admire. With a lot of my colleagues, the compassionate of applesauce comes through harmonic understanding, not basal tap-your-foot impulse. The music has to reflect all of that—and Roy’s does.
Roy Haynes in 2012
Happy, blessed altogether to Roy. We recorded calm with Gary Burton, and I aboriginal met Roy at the rehearsal. I anticipation I was aloof there to watch. Afterwards a few songs, Gary asks me to accompany my trumpet and accompany Roy. I was so nervous, but I approved my best and again I wasn’t nervous. Afterwards that, Roy, Steve, and Gary assassin me for the gig. Gary says, “We appetite you to play.” Roy’s allurement actuality was awfully swinging.
The complete of Roy’s drums: If you apperceive the Japanese taiko drummers, they’re activity the beating of the skin—they don’t hit it, they animation it. That’s how I felt. Roy doesn’t charge the cymbals like added drummers. His drums are like boom. Accepted so bad.
Like a Rolls-Royce. I acquainted I could comedy annihilation on top of it. Acknowledge you so much, Roy.
How I met Roy: I was in Barbados arena a festival, and a acquaintance of abundance and acquaintance of Roy’s went to this club to jam, and I was bubbler my bottle of wine, so I went over my absolute and I was on the blessed side. Three hours went by and all of a abrupt this hi-hat from heaven joins us. I attending and there’s this man with a huge hat and nice boots. I didn’t admit him, so I’m thinking, “My God, this guy’s incredible, I gotta get him to New York, get him a gig!” I said to him, “Sir, can you accord me your buzz number? You’ll booty New York by storm. What’s your name?” He goes, “My name is Roy Haynes.” I about fell off my chair.
That night, he took me about Barbados to eat absurd fish, and that’s the aboriginal time he asked me to comedy with his quartet. We had that mentorship. One time we’re on a bus alert to Dear Old Stockholm he did with Trane. I’ll never balloon how affecting Roy got alert to it. I backpack that moment in my affection deeply. He’s affable with some admirable colors. And Roy was acute for abutting me with my history of applesauce in Panama. The aboriginal actuality who assassin Roy was Luis Russell. Panama has a continued history of applesauce greats, and Roy was the aboriginal to hip me to that.
One time I was at Port Authority at 4 in the morning, demography a train, and who do I see? There’s a abbreviate diminutive man in a cowboy hat. I absolved up to him and said, “I apperceive who you are” [laughs]. He was nice and cordial, told me he’d been partying all night and was demography the alternation aback to Queens. Aloof the airheadedness I had seeing Roy Haynes. It cannot be abstract how abundant he agency to the music. Aboriginal time I bethink seeing him, he was arena in my hometown of Houston. What addled me was his activity force and activity beaming from the drums, hitting me in my chest. That’s the vibe, and that actuality goes on the recordings. To me he plays life.
Hey Roy, blessed altogether man. I’ll never balloon the time we had at Slugs. Yeah man you were a best and still are. You’re consistently gonna be a best to me. You know? We adulation you man.
Roy Haynes in 2005
A adventure I adulation to tell: We’re at a anniversary in Boston, and afterwards we played we got into a limo, and the limo disciplinarian was announcement a Missy Elliott song. Roy knew all the lyrics—every distinct lyric. I didn’t apperceive the lyrics. That shows me, man, this cat has never accomplished to blot what’s about him. He’s a force, consistently bringing fire. The aboriginal time I saw Roy was at the Vanguard. Russell Malone put out chat that Roy was attractive for a new saxophonist, and the aboriginal affair I apprehension is Roy’s boots. I’m acclimated to drummers actuality all up in the hi-hat, but his bottom was aloof air-conditioned on the hi-hat angle donning those boots. And his ride cymbal was so able he didn’t charge the accessory of the hi-hat. Appropriate again and there, it dawned on me how he afflicted the music.
My aboriginal addition to Roy was through my father, Freddie Waits, who had a acceptable accord with Roy, the way you see old accompany collaborate with jokes and hugs and admiration. I grew up in Greenwich Village and I’d tag along. Mr. Haynes, acknowledge you for absolution us with your presence. You’ve been an afflatus for me and my father. I bethink the aboriginal time I carefully “stole” article from Roy as a drummer. [laughs] I was in my 20s at the Vanguard. I was belief Roy, and for a anniversary after, I was aggravating to complete like him, and bodies were like, “You complete like Roy—you complete like you were alert to Roy all week.” That’s absolutely what I was doing. That’s the accomplished compliment—for a minute. I was like, “You’re right, I did see him aftermost week, and this is All. His. Shit. Right. Here.” [laughs]
First of all, anybody who’s in the birth of the music so continued and arena at a aerial level, everybody talks about Tony and Elvin and Philly Jo, but aback you allocution about their associations, you’re talking Roy Haynes. He’s on Dear Old Stockholm with Coltrane. What Roy is arena is so thick. It’s a affair he has and he makes whatever bandage he’s in. Roy Haynes all day. You allocution about the Bud Powell accolade band? Roy. Haynes. All. Day. What I like about these cats, man, the OGs, they’d comedy the aforementioned accessories and complete so different. Roy put out this anthology that cipher messes with: Praise.
I was arena this gig with Amiri and Amina Baraka at the Malcolm X Applesauce Anniversary with Marcus Shelby, and Amina was like, “Play this song,” and I’m like, “I’m all-a-quiver on the bridge,” and aback you acquaint an old-school sister you don’t apperceive article appropriate afore you go onstage, you get that look: It’s a actual accurate Motherfucker, are you serious? You done got me out here? I apperceive that look, but I’m like, “Here’s this Roy Haynes song I absolutely like and I anticipate you’re gonna dig it too. It’s alleged ‘After Sunrise.’” And we comedy that. Aback I acquaint you I got the bigger hug and kiss from Amina after, and she’s tough, my man. Roy’s music has such a accepted love.
First time I met Roy was at a conference. I acquaint myself, we alpha talking. I’mma abrasion the OGs out, so I’m talking to him for an hour, and how you comedy all that bits in some cowboy boots? He’s cutting snakeskin pants and cowboy boots killing the drums. The joy he embodies. All acclaim is due, and blessed birthday. This time aftermost year he was appointed to comedy Blue Note at 95 and I’m like, this motherfucker is 95 and arena the Blue Note. That’s the dude you wanna be—the drums and the spirit.
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