Drummer Roy Haynes Proves Ageless On New Album

Jazz veteran's upcoming Trio features pianist Danilo Perez and bassist John Patitucci.

By 1966, drummer Roy Haynes, 74, had already played with Lester Young, Miles Davis, Bud Powell, Charlie Parker, Stan Getz, Sarah Vaughan and John Coltrane.

Danilo Perez, the brilliant pianist who joins Haynes and bassist John Patitucci on the drummer's latest release, The Roy Haynes Trio Featuring Danilo Perez and John Patitucci (out on Verve on April 18), was born that year.

But the age spread in no way impedes the chemistry of the trio.

"The dialogue has been very open between the three of us," Patitucci said. "We seem to have hit on something. You hear of a lot of situations where they put guys together in so-called special situations, and sometimes the chemistry isn't there, and they don't hook up. But Roy is such a great listener, we started playing and it was amazing."

Haynes' playing on the CD explains why pianist George Shearing gave him the onomatopoetic nickname Snap Crackle in the '50s. On "Bright Mississippi," Thelonious Monk's reharmonization of "Sweet Georgia Brown," Haynes concocts a Latin groove.

"Roy plays the swing beat with such a Caribbean feel. I don't know many people who have that," the Panamanian Perez said. "And he has such a unique way of tuning the drums. Sometimes he'll fill and it will remind you, for example, of Brazil, or even of some things from my country."

Cuts such as "Sippin' at Bells" and "Shulie a Bop" (RealAudio excerpt) show the musical relationship between the three players. Perez plays a melody line, which gives room for Patitucci to bob and weave, and Haynes steers them to the tunes' destinations.

The three have previously played with each other, but not all at the same time. Patitucci has toured and recorded with Perez's working group, and the bassist worked with Haynes on Chick Corea's Remembering Bud Powell, a 1997 tribute to the influential bebop pianist.

Haynes is one of the most respected artists in jazz. His 50-year career spans sessions with Louis Armstrong up through Pat Metheny. Like Monk, with whom he played, he has a knack for rearranging familiar tunes but leaving them satisfyingly recognizable.

The Roy Haynes Trio has a narrative feel. Each selection represents a milestone in the drummer's career and/or pays tribute to musicians in his past. From Powell's "Wail" to Metheny's "Question and Answer," the scope of Haynes' lifelong experience is evident.