The Kennedy Center

Roy Haynes



Biography

For more than 50 years Roy Haynes has influenced and innovated, shaping some of the greatest recordings in jazz while altering the very fabric and direction of jazz improvisation with his mercurial, intelligent, joyous drumming. Freeing jazz's borders, infusing its lifeblood, steering it towards greater freedom and more distinctive expression, Roy Haynes is a national treasure who continues to forge new paths well into his ‘70s, dumbfounding jazz lovers, not to mention Father Time and Mother Nature. He is one of the few musicians still performing whose origins touch the very roots of jazz. Growing up in the Boston area where he was born in 1925, and primarily self-taught, Mr. Haynes played in area bands as a teenager before landing his first major gig in 1945 at age 20, in New York City, with Luis Russell's big band at the legendary Savoy Ballroom. (Russell had worked with the jazz pioneers King Oliver in the 1920s and Louis Armstrong in the 1930s.) Since then, Mr. Haynes has played with nearly every jazz master: Armstrong, Lester Young, Charlie “Bird” Parker, Thelonious Monk, Sarah Vaughan, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, Lennie Tristano, Stan Getz, Chick Corea and Pat Metheny. His distinctive drumming enhances some 600 recordings, many of them classics - with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie on 1951's stirring Night in Tunisia ; with Sarah Vaughan on He's My Guy; with Thelonious Monk on 'Round Midnight; with John Coltrane on Dear Old Stockholm, with Lester Young, Bud Powell, Miles Davis, Stan Getz, Ray Charles and Chick Corea - on one historic recording after another, Haynes propels the music with an incomparable blend of spontaneous expression and sympathetic restraint. He is the “father of modern drumming,” says the guitarist Pat Metheny. Haynes, says Corea, is a “national treasure.” Mr. Haynes still performs regularly and over the past three years has averaged more than 50 live performances each season from the United States to France, Italy, Spain and Turkey. Recent CD releases include Birds of a Feather (2001) which he recorded with Dave Holland, Roy Hargrove and Kenny Garrett; Love Letters (2003) with Holland, Kenny Barron, John Scofield and Joshua Redman; and Fountain of Youth (2004), recorded with his own young quartet (Marcus Strickland, John Sullivan, Martin Bejerano, and his long time pianist Dave Kikoski.) In 2002, Roy Haynes was honored with two nights of tribute concerts at New York's Lincoln Center; his 78th birthday party was held at Manhattan's Blue Note.

April 2004
Roy Haynes