Bio of a Drummer

A Life In Time: The Roy Haynes Story (Dreyfus)
Roy Haynes

By Martin Kasdan Jr.

Imagine, if you will, a jazz radio station broadcasting the best of post-World War II jazz. Some of the musicians to be heard would certainly include the likes of Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Chick Corea and Gary Burton, to name but a few.

All of these and many more, are represented on this 3-CD-plus-bonus-DVD set, which chronicles the music of legendary drummer Roy Haynes. The first two discs show his finesse and adaptability as a sideman, beginning with a 1949 tune by Lester Young, "Ding Dong," and continuing through to a 1997 recording of "Question and Answer," with the all-star lineup of Burton, Corea, Pat Metheny and Dave Holland. Disc 3 showcases Haynes' work as a leader, with musicians including Metheny, Donald Harrison, George Cables and many other luminaries.

The DVD includes segments of an interview by writer Ashley Kahn and tantalizing concert excerpts from 2005 and 1973. The concert segments on the DVD serve to whet the appetite for full concert releases.

As discussed in Kahn's extensive liner notes, Haynes is noted for a style emphasizing a "snap-crackle" approach. Many of us here were able to experience him in person at the University of Louisville in February of 2005. This box set serves as a reminder of how fortunate we were. More significantly, it is an extraordinary overview of how Haynes has been such a vital part of the jazz community for more than 60 years. The more recent material also offers proof of how Haynes continues to be such a powerful force in the world of jazz.