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Louis Hayes: The Time Keeper & Off The Cuff


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Louis Hayes

The Timekeeper

18th & Vine


Rick Germanson

Off the Cuff

Owl Studios


Louis Hayes still ranks among the few hard bop legends that emerged during the '50s and '60s who still contribute to the contemporary jazz scene. Perhaps his most famous association was with Horace Silver but his next major gig arrived as part of Cannonball Adderley's ensemble, resulting in a collaboration that would influence his career to present-day as leader of the Cannonball Legacy Band.

Hayes' The Time Keeper serves as the drummer's first project as a leader in quite some time and it results in 50 minutes of top quality hard bop. Supported by Abraham Burton (sax), Helio Alves (piano) and Santi Debriano (bass), Hayes' combo begins with an original number by the drummer called "Check In"; it's a pounding, relatively quick, up-tempo jaunt proving Hayes' chops haven't diminished one bit.

Vibraphonist Steve Nelson joins the group on four selections, notably the laid back Horace Silver composition "Peace," which Hayes originally recorded with Silver on the 1959 Blue Note Classic Blowin' the Blues Away. Along with more familiar favorites by Silver, Matt Dennis and Antonio Carlos Jobim, the combo also explores originals by Burton and Debriano, resulting in an eclectic program that begs for Hayes to take the lead more often.

Hayes returns to his familiar role as a sideman on fellow Legacy Band-member Rick Germanson's Off the Cuff, a trio with bassist Gerald Cannon. It features a number of ballads, including a lovely, slowed-down interpretation of the late Freddie Hubbard's "Up Jumped Spring," for which Hayes reportedly skipped Hubbard's recent funeral service to record.

The group also explores a handful of Germanson originals, including "Jill's Dream," a moving, medium-tempo swinger dedicated to the leader's late sister. The highlight, however, arrives in the form of an extended reading of Burt Bacharach's seldom-covered gem "Wives and Lovers". After stating the unforgettable theme, all the players are given a chance to stretch out a bit and even after nearly eight minutes, listeners will find themselves craving more.

Tracks and Personnel

The Timekeeper

Tracks: Alani's World; Double Rainbow; The Preacher; Save Yourself; Check In; It's to You; Abellino; Peace; Angel Eyes.

Personnel: Louis Hayes: drums; Abraham Burton: saxophone; Steve Nelson: vibraphone; Santi DeBriano: bass.

Off the Cuff

Tracks: Quagmire; Jill's Song; Daytona; Up Jumped Spring; This Time The Dream's On Me; Wives and Lovers; The Way of Water; Autumn In New York; Brick; Any Thoughts?.

Personnel: Rick Germanson: piano; Gerald Cannon: bass; Louis Hayes: drums.


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