Roy Haynes still walks tall in the world of jazz. After 7-decades behind the drums... Not a detail is overlooked. And it's always a good time to play.
“Doing what I”ve done as a teenager…to now (blows a kiss) I’ve enjoyed it, playing (air drumming) .. and still do.
His recent set at the Blue Note in Greenwich Village --- a celebration of the legendary percussionist’s 93rd birthday.
“I was playing ever since I could remember …even before I had a set of drums.”
“I grew up in Boston. My Father bought a house. It was across the street from a Jewish synagogue. It was great growing up there, so many different types of people.
Doing that, the kids in school, they weren’t looking at the teacher…they were looking at Roy Haynes,
Haynes -- who is recipient of a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award got his first break when he was just a teenager -- after pianist Louis Russel asked him to join his band back in 1945.
“Somebody told Luis Russell about this guy in Boston, Roy Haynes. By the time I got to New York, a lot of people knew about me, “
It wasn't long... before Haynes's unique energy and sound was in high demand.
“I didn’t find that out until I started travelling. People knew about me…band leaders. Singers. Female Vocalists and all that.”
Everyone from Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Billie Holiday, Stan Getz, Sonny Rollins, Sarah Vaughan -- wanted to record with him.
And that night... 1953... arguably the greatest quartet ever assembled... Haynes on drums, Charley Mingus on bass, Thelonious Monk behind the piano... and Charlie Parker with his Saxophone.
There are no audio recordings from that night at a spot called the Open Door in
“It was beautiful man. I was at the very young age. I was enjoying it. Playing with great people. I had already met Papa Joe.
Papa Jo Jones his idol -- was a drummer in the legendary Count Basie band.
And then there's the clothes... He's quick to boast about his inclusion in a best dressed list, created by Esquire Magazine in 1960.
"Then I was listed in Esquire Magazine for the art of wearing clothes. I was one oy the youngest, me and Miles."
That would be iconic trumpeter.. Miles Davis.
“When I was young…I never smoked herb, never drinked when I was playing. “
Bowens: "Maybe that’s why your still out there playing..”
“Maybe that’s why I’m still living!”
Regarding the audience:
“They’re waiting to hear this guy. I don’t know if they’ve ever heard me before, Most of they probably didn’t. They give me inspiration.
“They make something come out of me that I probably wasn’t planning to do it like that, I just get that feeling. And When I get that feeling with people in a group…it’s a great feeling.”
“It’s great and It still is. Man”