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Album Review

When trombonist Spiegle Willcox (who lived to the age of 96) was 91 in 1994, he recorded an album titled Jazz Keeps You Young — and that title wasn't just empty rhetoric. There have been many jazz musicians who, tragically, abused themselves unmercifully and died much too young (the Eagles' "Life in the Fast Lane" isn't just rock & roll history — it's also jazz history), but on the other hand, there have also been many jazz musicians who made it to their seventies and eighties, kept their chops in great shape, and remained impressively productive. Roy Haynes is a perfect example. The veteran drummer was 80-years-old when Whereas was recorded live in St. Paul, MN in January 2006, but he isn't lacking either chops or enthusiasm on these inspired post-bop and hard bop performances. The 60-minute CD finds Haynes leading a quartet that is billed as the Fountain of Youth Band and employs Jaleel Shaw on alto sax (John Coltrane and Eric Dolphy are among his influences), Robert Xavier Rodriguez on acoustic piano and John Carver Sullivan on upright bass, and the group swings with conviction on Coltrane's "Mr. PC" and Thelonious Monk's "Bemsha Swing" as well as Joe Henderson's "Inner Urge" and Chick Corea's "Like This." Given Haynes' age, one might be inclined to cut him some slack if he overdid it with warhorses, but the warhorse factor isn't excessive on Whereas. "Like This" is far from a warhorse, and Haynes pleasantly surprises with "Segment" (one of Charlie Parker's lesser known compositions). The drummer even shows us the acoustic possibilities of Pat Metheny's congenial "James," which came out of jazz-rock fusion but lends itself nicely to a straight-ahead post-bop interpretation. There are no dull moments on Whereas, which is a consistently engaging document of Haynes at 80.

Biography

Born: 13 March 1925 in Roxbury, MA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

A veteran drummer long overshadowed by others, but finally gaining recognition for his talents and versatility, Roy Haynes has been a major player since the 1940s. He worked early on with the Sabby Lewis big band, Frankie Newton, Luis Russell (1945-1947), and Lester Young (1947-1949). After some engagements with Kai Winding, Haynes was a member of the Charlie Parker Quintet (1949-1952); he also recorded during this era with Bud Powell, Wardell Gray, and Stan Getz. Haynes toured the world with Sarah...
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Whereas, Roy Haynes
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