AAJ: I was just listening to Roy Haynes playing with Andrew Hill [Black Fire, Blue Note 4151] and I was thinking to myself, wow, Roy Haynes in '64 sounds like Sunny Murray in '61!
SM [laughing]: Let me tell you a little story now that you mentioned that; well Cecil got this gig at a place on Bleecker and Broadway called Take 3, and we played there about a month. It was the kind of place that would be open all night, there'd be drunken soldiers and gay guys fighting, and hookers, and we made a dollar and a half, some nights two. And one night while I was playing, and Cecil says to me 'Sunny' and I said 'what, we just got started, what's up?' And Cecil whispers, 'Max Roach is in the audience. He's sittin' right up front.' And I almost lost my sticks, you know. And so he stayed a set, and then the night after, it's very true, speaking of Roy Haynes, I was setting up and sitting at my drums, and you know I love these cats and I would carry these cats on my shoulders somewhere, and I looked behind me, Roy Haynes is sitting there in the same funky donkey grace. And he smiles and he says, 'you don't like someone sitting behind you, right?' And I said, 'no sir, that's right.' And he laughs and said okay, and he went and sat in front. And we've been friends and I told this story to his son, Graham, and Graham saw me later (we played together a lot) and said 'dad said exactly what you said, man.' You know, some of my stories sound so strange, people think they're lies, but it's only because no one tells the truth about the past of new music. They look at new music like it didn't have that thing bebop had. Stories, suffering, gangsters, ups and downs, like it was just a flower that popped up some-damn- where. That's not true at all; we paid some dues, Cecil paid some dues, the violence, the hate, depression. This music was not born to some sweet walk in the tulips, you know?
AAJ: It sounds to me like there was also more cross-pollination between bebop musicians and the then-avant-gardists than people are willing to write about.