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The Griot's Footsteps

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Album Review

The title of this disc (and the sight of a 26-minute-long track entitled "Enlightenment") might strike a certain chord of dread, especially since often, when American jazz musicians try to imitate African folk musicians, the whole thing ends up sounding like an exercise in hip affectation. But Haynes, a cornetist and son of famous drummer Roy, seems to have anticipated that problem and avoided it by going for flavor rather than authenticity; the result is a wonderful disc that blurs the definition of jazz in an original way. Featuring a standard instrumental ensemble consisting of cornet, saxophone, keyboard, bass and drums as well as such exotica as sitar and tamboura, this record draws the listener in with rich harmonic textures and insistent rhythmic pulses that manage to be hypnotic without being stultifying. "Enlightenment," daunting in length though it is (and even though it features an uninspired sitar solo by someone who doesn't seem to really know what she's doing), maintains its effectiveness by evoking exotic milieux without identifying them — not really African, not really Asian, the song's feel is simply like that of some alien world's folk music. "R.H." is a touching tribute to Haynes' father, and the title track is an excellent six-minute piece which unfortunately lasts for more than fourteen. (You can skip over "Psychic Plane"; it may have been included as a joke.) Overall, this disc is an inspiring example of a young, talented mind honoring his musical heritage while expanding its boundaries and contributing to its development.


Born: September, 1960 in Queens, New York, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The son of drummer Roy Haynes, Graham Haynes grew up around jazz musicians; his Hollis, Queens, neighborhood was also home to Roy Eldridge, Milt Jackson, and Jaki Byard. The younger Haynes played in the same high-school band as bassist Marcus Miller. In 1982, he began an association with saxophonist Steve Coleman; he played on the latter's 1985 debut recording, Motherland Pulse, an album that also featured a young Geri Allen. Haynes' work occasionally hints at an experimental nature, but too often...
Full bio
The Griot's Footsteps, Graham Haynes
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  • 10,99 €
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: 01 January 1994

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