Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Roy Haynes - Whereas (Dreyfus, 2006)

Veteran drummer Roy Haynes is fronting a group of up and coming young musicians appropriately called The Fountain of Youth Band on this exciting live recording of modern hard bop. Haynes is joined by Jaleel Shaw on saxophones, Robert Rodriguez on piano, and John Sullivan on bass. Their repertoire is a fine mix of standards old and new with an original thrown in as a drum feature. Whenever Elvin Jones was unable to make a gig with John Coltrane, Roy Haynes was called on to fill in and that may be one of the reasons that he zips the band through a blasting version of Coltrane's "Mr. P.C." like a formula one driver at the helm of a finely tuned vehicle. Shaw sounds very good here sparking off ideas and keeping up the breakneck pace. Haynes also worked with Thelonious Monk on occasion and the group here covers the Monk chestnut "Bemsha Swing" and then before segueing into Steve Swallow's "True or False." Other lodestars the band touch upon are compositions from former Haynes associates Chick Corea, Joe Henderson and Charlie Parker. There is also the Haynes drum expose "Hippiy Hop." His young charges play very well throughout, and look to have a bright future in the music. This is a good representation of mainstream jazz in modern times. Haynes has the history of postwar jazz at his fingertips, but is never slavish to the past, always pushing his young group to explore and acting as a mentor and example to all.

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